Frequently Asked Question

Forum/Discussion Posts - Basics
Last Updated 28 days ago

Forum posts can be a great way to facilitate online discussions. (Great for fully online courses, hybrid, and digital learning days!)

Here are a few things you should know and ideas to help get you started:

  1. Your Forum post must have a name (i.e. Week 1 Discussion, Introduction Posts)
  2. Post your prompt & any additional details from your syllabus in the "Description" box (How many words should the initial post be? How many replies are required? How many words should the replies be?)
  3. The most common Forum type is "Standard forum for general use," but you can view the descriptions of the other 4 types to see which would best fit your needs. The "Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format" is another popular choice.
  4. Have a word count requirement? Expand the "Attachments and word count" section to turn on "Display word count." You can do this even after students have begun posting.

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  5. Grade vs. Rating: Want to give this forum a grade? Expand "Ratings" and select the "Sum of ratings" under "Aggregate type." (See end)
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  6. "Restrict ratings..." This is NOT the same as closing a forum after the due date. I recommend leaving this box UNCHECKED. It will prevent you from giving scores to posts made during this time period, but students will still be able to post. If you do not want students to post after a certain time, you will need to hide the forum (see next point).
  7. Restrict access: If you add a restriction to automatically hide the forum after a certain date, please go into your gradebook settings so your course total will display INCLUDING hidden items, otherwise students will be unable to see their course total by default.
  8. Activity completion: If you are utilizing this setting in your course (which I recommend!), you can set this activity to be marked as complete "when conditions are met." For example, it is common to require 1 initial discussion post and 2 replies (shown below). This corresponds with a small checkbox next to the activity as well as an optional (but recommended) block in your course.
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  9. Hit save at the bottom of the page!


Giving ratings: Now that you've created your post and students have begun posting, how do you "rate" posts?

  1. Click the activity on your course page to enter the post
  2. Click the student's post by Discussion topic title
  3. At the bottom of each initial post and reply, you'll see a dropbox with numerical values from 0-max grade possible (based on your initial setup)
  4. For example - their initial post may be worth 8 and each reply may be worth 1 point to total 10 points. As you rate each post/reply, our "Sum of ratings" score will appear in the gradebook up to the max number of points possible.
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Please note: Grades are posted in the gradebook in real-time. If you grade the initial post and wait to grade the replies, the students will see a partial grade and may think their score is alarmingly low. 

New feature with Moodle 3.7! Reply Privately:

After clicking "Reply" to a student, you can now check the box to "Reply privately." Students may not realize this feedback is private, so it can be a good idea to explicitly state that this is a private reply.

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Troubleshooting: 

Are your students getting a permissions error message? It is likely that someone with editing access accidentally toggled the "groups" icon with editing turned on. Shown here is an example of the icons you might see. The first one - a little blue person - allows all students to post. The icon below - a clear person in a blue circle - means only certain "groups" can post. If you have not enabled groups in your course, students will not be able to post. 

There are 3 different icons to toggle through. Make sure you get to the solid person without a circle to allow your students to post.

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Moodle 3.7

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