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Create a Forum

A discussion ‘Forum’ enables both staff and students to hold conversations in the form of posted messages.

This guide covers:

Before you start, please take a look at this guide which details the different forum types which can be created.


Adding a Forum to your course

  • Click on the Turn editing on button (top right of your screen).
  • If not already open (collapsed topic format), click on the topic where you would like to add the ‘Forum’.
  • Click on ‘Add an activity or resource’ 
  •  Select the forum activity and then click the ‘add’ button at the bottom:


Setting Up a Forum

Forum name – A short name of the forum, which will be displayed on the course homepage.

Forum type – There are five forum types to choose from:

  • A single simple discussion – A single discussion topic which everyone can reply to.
  • Each person posts one discussion – Each student can post exactly one new discussion topic, which everyone can then reply to.
  • Q and A forum – Students must first post their perspectives before viewing other students’ posts.
  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with “Discuss this topic” links.
  • Standard forum for general use – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time

Forum introduction – Place the description of the forum here. It is a good practice to include precise instructions for students regarding the subject of the forum and the rating and grading criteria that might be used in this forum.

Maximum attachment size – The maximum file size that may be attached to a forum post will first be determined by the QMplus site settings. The teacher may want a smaller size limit for the forum. Server file capacity, student downloading speeds and discouraging images in a document centered discussion are a few reasons to limit file size.

Maximum number of attachments – The maximum number of attachments a user can add to their forum post (from 0 to 100) can be specified here.

Subscription mode – There are 4 subscription mode options:

  • Optional subscription – Participants can choose whether to be subscribed
  • Forced subscription – Everyone is subscribed and cannot unsubscribe. Forcing everyone to subscribe is especially useful in the news forum and in forums towards the beginning of the course.
  • Auto subscription – Everyone is subscribed initially but can choose to unsubscribe at any time
  • Subscription disabled – Subscriptions are not allowed, it prevents Students from subscribing to a Forum.

The subscription mode and subscribe or unsubscribe links appear in the Settings menu under Forum administration when viewing the forum. Teachers can change the mode via the ‘Subscription mode’ options and view/remove/add the current subscribers via the ‘Show/edit current subscribers’ link.

RSS feed for this activity – This turns RSS on or off for this forum. When set to ‘None’, RSS is disabled. When set to ‘Discussions’, the RSS feed will send out new discussions to subscribers. When set to ‘Posts’, the RSS feed will send out any new posts to subscribers.

Number of RSS recent articles – This number sets the number of articles that go out via RSS. If this number is set to 5, then the 5 most recent articles will be sent to subscribers. As new posts (or discussions) get added, the oldest post/discussion gets replaced on the RSS feed.

Post threshold for blocking – Students can be blocked from posting more than a specified number of posts in a given period.

Common Module Settings
Using groups with forums -The group mode setting has three options:

  • No groups
  • Separate groups – each group can only see their own group; others are invisible
  • Visible groups – each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups

Teachers, and other users with the capability set to allow, can view and post in all forum discussions, regardless of the group mode setting.

Visible to students –You can hide the activity from students by selecting ‘Hide’ here. It is useful if you wouldn’t like to make the activity available immediately.

Grading forums –The teacher can use the ratings scales to grade student activities in a forum. There are several methods for calculating the grade for a forum that can be found in the Forum settings under grades. There are 5 ways to aggregate ratings automatically to calculate a forum grade for the Gradebook. These include: Average, Max, Min, Count and Sum.

Forum ratings – uses Scales to standardize the reporting in order to allow users to evaluate posts in a forum. A forum rating can be included as part of a student’s grade. For example, a teacher might use a custom rating scale in a forum and allow students to rate forum posts. When rating is allowed, the qualified user will see ‘Rate this post’ and a pull down menu after an entry (not their own). The menu displays a scale that the forum creator selected in the Forum grade settings. The user can rate more than one post at a time. When finished they should click the ‘submit my ratings’ button at the bottom of the page.

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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