Moodle Help & Support 


This refers to Moodle 4.1 from December 2023 onwards

How to create a forum with groups

To allow groups of students to have a discussion together, you can set up a forum with groups.

It is the same forum, but people in a group can only reply to those in the same group.

An Editing teacher will be able to see everyone's responses.

To enable Groups in your course: 

1. Go into the module and click on the Settings tab.

Module navigation bar with settings selected

2. Scroll down to Groups and open section and in 'Group mode' choose from: 

  • Separate groups - are used so that the students do not see what one another are doing. So far as they are concerned they are the only group in the forum.
  • Visible groups - means they can see the postings of the other groups but may not reply to them.

Group settings for a module

3. Click on the 'Save and display' button.

Save and display buttons

Now set up your groups (See: How To create groups and groupings).

To set up a forum with groups

1. In your module, enable editing using the 'Edit mode' slider in the top right.

Edit mode slider with edit enabled

2. In the relevant topic/section, click the 'Add an activity or resource' button.

Add an activity or resource button

3. This will open a new window. Select 'Forum' from the list of activities. 

Forum button

4. This will open a new page where you can give the forum a 'Name' and 'Description' (The 'Description' is where the instructions or guidelines will go, or, for Single Simple Discussion, this will be the first post).

5. Select the 'Forum type' you want.

There are 5 types of discussion forums (in addition to the special Announcements forum, see above).                      

  • A single simple discussion - this is a forum with only one topic. Users can only reply to the original topic (and to replies) not create new topics. The Description will be the first post.
  • Each person posts one discussion - handy for class introductions, each user can only post one discussion topic (replies are not limited).
  • Q and A forum - this forum allows you to post a question (or questions) and students must reply with their answers first before seeing other student responses.
  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format.
  • Standard forum for general use - anyone can post new topics/subjects and reply to this forum.

General settings for a new forum activity

6. Under the Attachments and word count heading you can specify max size and number of attachments allowed, and whether a word count is displayed.

Attachment and word count settings for a new forum activity

7. Click the arrow next to Subscription and tracking to expand this section. In 'Subscription mode' choose which subscription option you want.

  The options available are:

  • Optional subscription - users aren’t subscribed (don’t get email alerts) but can choose to be.
  • Forced subscription - users automatically get update alerts and cannot unsubscribe.
  • Auto subscription - means users start with a subscription but may choose to disable it – OFTEN A GOOD CHOICE.
  • Subscription disabled -  it is never possible to get alerts.

Subscription and tracking settings for a new forum activity

8. Under the Common module settings heading, in the 'Group mode' drop-down menu select either "Separate groups"  or "Visible groups".

9. (Optional) If you have set up groupings, select the relevant one from the 'Grouping' dropdown.

Common module settings for a new forum activity

10. Click on the 'Save and return to module' button 

Save and return to module, Save and display and Cancel buttons

11. Don't forget to disable editing using the 'Edit mode' slider in the top right corner.

Edit mode slider with edit disabled

Posting messages in the forum

You can now go into the forum and start posting messages.

1. Click into the forum.

2. If you have selected "Visible groups" in the forum settings (see previous section), select the group or groups to whom you want the message to be visible by clicking on the "Visible groups" or "Separate groups" drop-down menu and select group(s). "All participants" will post a message visible to all groups but the students will not be able to reply.

Alternatively you can post a message to a particular group, and then students in that group will be able to reply. 

If students start a thread it will be visible only to their group.

The editing teacher can always see all postings from all groups.

Visible groups dropdown

3. Once the group is selected, Click on the 'Add a new discussion topic' button.

Add a discussion topic button

4. Type a 'Subject' and 'Message' and add any attachments via the Advanced link.

5. When you are ready, click on the 'Post to forum' button.

Adding a new forum post

Similar tutorials

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