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Moodle Help & Support 


This refers to Moodle 3.8 from September 2020 onward

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 'Cogwheel' and select 'Edit settings'

Cogwheel menu

2. Scroll down to Groups and open section and in "Group mode" choose from 'Visible groups' or 'Separate groups' 

    1. 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.
    2. Visible groups means they can see the postings of the other groups but may not reply to them

Group section

3. Click on the Save and display button

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

To set up a forum with groups

  1. Navigate to your module and click on the 'Turn editing on' icon in the top right  Turn editing on icon
  2. In the relevant topic/section, click Add an activity or resource
  3. A window will appear. Scroll down through activities and select the radio button for 'Forum' and then click 'Add'

Add an activity or resource window

4. 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)

Adding details for a new forum

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.

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.

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

  Subscription and tracking section

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

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

Common module settings with group mode options displayed

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

Posting messages in the forum

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

  1. Click into the forum
  2. 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.

Adding a grouping to a forum post

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

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