Add an Activity

Add an Activity


A Forum is a space for students to ask questions, debate topics, discuss unit content and generally communicate with staff and students. Information for students regarding posting to forums, forum display, subscription and tracking is available in Learning Online @ UNE - some of this may be useful to you in terms of monitoring forum activity and notifications.

All units at UNE have a News (or Announcements) Forum included by default. The News Forum is linked to the Latest News Block and therefore there can only be one News/ Announcements Forum per unit. If more than one is required, contact or phone extension 3396 for assistance.

All students are automatically subscribed to the News Forum and will receive an email for each post in the forum (students are prevented from unsubscribing to this forum). Students cannot reply or create messages in this Forum - it is only for academic and professional staff with the appropriate permissions.

To set up a Forum within a unit follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Click on the 'Add an activity or resource' link in the appropriate topic block or section on the unit home page, select 'Forum' from the Activities section and click 'Add' at the bottom of the pop-up. 

Add a forum

Step 2:

Complete the fields for Name and Description (both required). The Name will become the link on the site homepage that students will click on to access the forum.


Note that you can choose to display the description on the site page. If you tick this check box, the forum will display with the description underneath the title (as below):

forum description

There are five different forum types to choose from:

  • A single simple discussion - A single topic discussion developed on one page, which is useful for short focused discussions
  • Each person posts one discussion - Each person can post exactly one new discussion topic (including teaching staff - everyone can reply to topics though); this is useful when you want each student to start a discussion about, say, their reflections on the week's topic, and everyone else responds to these
  • Q and A forum - Instead of initiating discussions participants pose a question in the initial post of a discussion. Students may reply with an answer, but they will not see the replies of other Students to the question in that discussion until they have themselves replied to the same discussion.
  • Standard forum for general use - An open forum where anyone can start a new topic at any time; this is the best general-purpose forum.
  • There is also a Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format (not commonly used at UNE).

The default setting at UNE is 'Standard forum for general use'. 

Step 3:

Change maximum attachment size, maximum number of attachments and/ or display word count if required. For most forums, the default settings will be appropriate, but if students are required to submit large files through a forum it may be necessary to change this setting (note that the site upload limit default is 50MB, but this can be changed in Administration> Site administration> Edit settings> Files and uploads> Maximum upload size).

Display word count is a useful setting if a forum is used for a specific activity. Note: the word count does not display until the message is posted in the forum.

forum attachments and word count

Step 4:

Email subscription can be set to:

  • Optional email subscription (opt-in) - this is the default at UNE
  • Everyone will receive emails
  • Auto email subscription (opt-out); or 
  • No one will ever receive emails

Read tracking will default to optional - giving the student the choice to turn it on or off.

forum subscription and tracking

Step 5:

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed can be set up for a specific forum, enabling students to subscribe to a forum using RSS reader software. RSS feeds can also be set up in blocks on the Moodle site. External RSS feeds will require login, so only students enrolled in a unit will be able to access posts.

forum rss

Note: Not all RSS readers will work with authenticated RSS.

Step 6:

Students can have a limit placed on the number of posts in a given period by using the Post threshold for blocking settings:

forum post threshold

Step 7:

A forum can also be set up to allow posts to be rated by both staff or students. Additional scale options can be set up from the Administration block: Site Administration> Grades> Scales> Add a new scale

Note: The ratings scales can be used to replicate a 'like' system on your forum - see the Adding ratings to forums page for more information.

In order to allow ratings by students, a permissions change is required - contact your School Learning Designer, Educational Support Officer or TaLS for advice.

forum ratings

Step 8:

Common module settings is used to set visibility (ie hide/ show) or if the Forum needs to be only available to certain groupings. Restrict access is used if the Forum needs to be only to be available during a certain time period or if access is dependent on a condition such as a grade or activity/ badge completion. It also includes settings for groups or groupingsActivity completion allows you to track completion either by students manually marking the activity as complete or by meeting certain conditions. These settings are covered elsewhere in this site. 

Step 9: 

Click Save and return or Save and display. You will need to display the forum to add a post - if you click Save and return, you can click on the forum from the site home page to do this.

Video Tutorial

Online Etiquette

A block with a warning about adhering to the guidelines to online behaviour and help is displayed on pages where messages can be posted (including forums and chat). This provides links to the Cyberethics guidelines and the guide to forums for students in Learning Online @ UNE.   

Cyberethics Block

Information on managing forums, including subscribing to forums/ discussions, and managing posts is available on the Additional forum features page.