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6 Tips for using Moodle forums effectively

Forum posts can either be a very effective tool for student communication and engagement or can potentially fall flat. It is one of the harder types of activities to get the right engagement balance. Having too many forums can be difficult to navigate and students lose focus and become confused on where to post. Having none at all can leave no space for asynchronous communication in your Moodle unit.

For forums to be successful they need to feel relevant and meaningful to students. The forum discussion needs to be centered around collaboration as a means to deeper understanding. Get students to build on what others are saying and advance the discussion.

Here are some considerations to help you set up more effective forum activities.

Moodle Forum activity

Monash has two Forum activities that you can choose from: Forum and Open Forum.

The main difference between the two is that Open Forums has anonymous posting and they each have a slightly different visual layout. Select the activity type that would work best for your context.

Forum

Open Forum

  • Has 5 forum types
  • Has 5 forum types
  • Has grading feature
  • Has grading feature
  • All posts are identifiable
  • Has anonymous posts
  • Has private replies from educator to student inside individual posts
  • Has private replies from educator to student as a main setting in Post options
  • Has activity completion based on views, grade, number of posts created, number of posts replied to
  • Has activity completion based on views, grade, number of posts created, number of posts replied to

Forum types

There are five different forum types to choose from that lend themselves to different discussion structures. Choose the type of forum that is most appropriate for the activity or assessment task you want students to do:

  • A single simple discussion: Set up a single discussion topic which all your students can reply to.
  • Each person posts one discussion: Allow each student to post only one new discussion topic, which everyone can then reply to.
  • Q and A forum: Students must first post their response to a question or series of questions before viewing other students' posts.
  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format: Allow anyone to start a new discussion at any time, in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with Discuss this topic links.
  • Standard forum for general use: A forum with minimal restrictions, anyone can start a new discussion at any time and can comment on the discussions.

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