Using Forums in Moodle

The forum module in moodle is a highly versatile tool available for a teacher’s use. For beginners in particular, the forum module can be used to delivery and teach all content. For this reason alone, it is wise for newbies to moodle to focus on using forums and to add additional tools that are more efficient for specific task later.

In this post, we will look at how to deploy forums as your one-all tool for someone who is using Moodle for the first time.

Using Forums for Everything

Below is a brief list of how forums can be used in multiple ways. The list below includes how the forum is used and the more efficient tool that could be used if the teacher is familiar with it. If there is no tool that is more efficient than the column is left blank.

Ways to Use Forums
Task Better Way
Download course outline file resource
Links to various websites link resource, book, or page
submit assignments Assignment activity
Quiz Quiz activity
Survey Survey activity
Organized key terms in course Glossary

Moodle is challenging to learn to use because it is so flexible. Having a beginner focus on using forums exclusively can allow someone to get up and running in a short period of time.

Creating a Forum

To create a forum you need to determine what the purpose of the forum is so that you can adjust the options accordingly. Let’s say you are new to Moodle and you want your students to upload an assignment to a forum so you can mark them. Below are the steps.

  1. In your Moodle course, click on “add activity”select “forum” and click “add” as shown below.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 07:44:04.png

2. In the next screen, you need to give the forum a name and a description. The description is where you can place instructions or other information to complete the task. Below is a picture

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 07:46:52.png

3. You now need to indicate what type of forum you are using. If you click on the ? near “forum type” in Moodle it will explain each of the type of forums that are available. I will not repeat the explanation but I will provide suggestions on when to use each.

  • Simple discussion-If you want a focus forum on a question you pose, this is a good choice. This is also useful if the purpose is for students to upload an assignment.
  • Q & A forum-Useful for giving quizzes. You can set the options so that students do not see other students’ responses until they post their own answer.
  • The other choices available are mostly similar and are useful for a more open ended discussion.

We are going to pick “simple discussion”

4. The next three columns “attachment and word count”,  “subscriptions” and “post threshold for blocking” are self-explanatory. You can determine the size of the file to upload and determining if students have to be aware of the activity in the forum The blocking feature is useful for students who dominate a discussion or are argumentative.  Below is a picture of the options in our example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:24:14.png

5. The next two settings work together. The “grade” section allows you to determine where to place this activity in the gradebook. This assumes that you have setup the gradebook. You can also set a minimum score to pass if you want but this is optional.

The “ratings” section allows you to setup how you will mark the assignments. You can set the. These options have been discussed previously. The only thing new is the “aggregate” option. Moodle explains this to you. Remember however that the purpose of our forum is uploading of an assignment. As such, when you read the assignment you will put the grade in the forum. The picture below is the settings for our example.

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:38:36.png

The rest of the settings are not related to our particular task. So you can click “Save and return to course”

After Student Submits

When a student submits you will see the following on the course home page

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:43:37.png

Hopefully, you can see in small print “1 unread post”. Click on this and see the following

Screenshot from 2016-08-03 09:44:47

Click on the uploaded assignment and then you can rate the assignment using the drop down box “average of ratings”. The current score is out of a 100 points. After marking click “return”.

You can check to see if the grade was recorded by going to the gradebook.


This post provide practical advice for using forums. How you use forums is only limited to your creativity. Forums are particular useful for beginners as they can complete most Moodle task without mastery of the other modules. However, once you are comfortable with forums you should expand into other tools to further benefit your students.


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  1. Pingback: Using Forums in Moodle | Education and Research...

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