Forums

What is a forum?

The MoodleForum iconForums in Moodle allow teaching staff and students to exchange comments and questions in a open discussion space within the unit Moodle site. This allows everyone in the unit to share information and benefit from each other’s opinions and input. Simply, it's a place where messages can be posted for open display.

Unit news and announcements forum is usually provided at the top of each unit. This forum is for Teachers to provide announcements to students. Only teaching staff can post to these forums; students cannot reply to announcements. By default everyone in the unit will be sent an email to their UNE email whenever there is a new posting.

Most unit sites will also have other forums. They may be near the top of the page for general discussion or appear within the topic sections where they are used for discussion specifically for that topic or module. These forums are usually set up so that you do not receive an email when there is a new posting. Usually you can subscribe to receive emails if you wish (see 'Update your profile' for information on how to do this). 

 

Reading

When you click on a forum topic link, a list of messages will be shown. To read the message, click on the subject line. This will bring up the message and any replies to it. To reply to the message, click the reply button for the message you are replying to. In the lower section of the page below the messages will be an editor where you enter your reply. You can also attach a file or insert an image in your post (see The Moodle Editor) for information on this).

Displaying messages in threaded or unthreaded form

At the top of a discussion posting within a forum, you will see a drop-down menu. It will probably be set to 'Display replies in nested form' and is a common way of viewing forums.

Drop down list of display options

The two most common settings are:

Display replies in threaded form

Only the post starting the discussion will be displayed in its full form; replies will be reduced to the subject line (including information about the author and date of reply) and organised chronologically; replies will be indented towards the right so that replies to the same post are at the same level. This allows you to view an individual post at a time and can be most useful for managing your tracking of read and unread posts, as only posts displayed in full are marked as having been read. This image shows threaded form with one unread post highlighted (an indented reply to a reply).

replies in threaded form

Display replies in nested form

All posts are displayed in their full forms and organised chronologically; replies will be indented towards the right so that replies to the same post are at the same level. This allows you to view an all the posts in the thread at the same time but it also results in all posts displayed in full on the same page to be marked as having been read. This image shows nested form with one unread post highlighted (an indented reply to a reply).

replies in nested form

Navigation in forums

You can navigate forums by clicking on the discussion you want to view in the listing provided when you first enter a forum:

discussion listing

Links are included for each topic in the discussion column as well as in the replies column. If you want to add a new topic, click the Add a new discussion topic button (see below for more information on this).

When you enter a discussion topic, navigation prompts to the previous and next discussions will appear above and below the discussions and replies in the topic:

Forum navigation

Subscribe to receive emails

You can subscribe to receive emails from forums.To do this go to the forum and look at the Administration block on the left. If available, click on the Subscribe to receive emails from this forum link. If you want to stop receiving emails go to the Administration block and click on the Stop receiving emails from this forum link.

The Subscribe to receive email link in the Admin block

Within a discussion topic, there is an additional option to Subscribe to this discussion. This will limit your subscription to specific discussion topics rather than all posts in the Forum. 

Discussion subscription link

There is also a link in the top right of the discussion topics to subscribe/ unsubscribe to individual discussions or you can manage topic subscriptions in the discussion topic listing (see final column in image below):

discussion subscription

You can have all posts sent by emails individually or as an email digest. See Update your Profile for information. See Email for ways to manage email.

Keeping track of viewed posts

Please note that unread forum posts are only tracked and highlighted for 14 days, after which time they are no longer tracked or highlighted.

Dashboard

If you have unread forum posts since your last login they are displayed with the unit name in the Site Overview block on the Dashboard page, under "There are new forum posts (Click to expand)". Click the link to expand the forum details and click on the links to the forums to see the posts.

A view of the my home page showing notification of new posts

 

Read tracking

Read tracking keeps track of the threads and posts that you have been to. To update this, edit your Forum preferences and change the 'Forum Tracking' setting to 'Yes: highlight new posts for me' or click 'Yes' in the Track column for the forum when accessing the Forum Summary page (see below).

View of the "Forum Tracking" setting on the user profile page.

With read tracking enabled highlighted text is displayed on the sites main page next to the forum showing there are unread posts.

Read tracking showing 1 unread post

In the forum itself you can see which discussion contains unread posts.

Two discussion threads, one with an unread post

The Forum Summary page that is accessed from the Activities block will display additional links, information as well as the option to manage tracking, subscription and email preferences for various forums.

A view of the Forum Summary page showing tracking settings

 

Composing, Replying and Editing a Post

In each forum participants can usually add a new discussion topic within a forum or reply to an existing post. 

 

Warning Online behaviour

The practices of courtesy and respect that apply in face-to-face contexts also apply online, and require even more attention. Before you participate in any forum, chat or blog, read Cyberethics at UNE-Guidelines for students on online behaviour.

 

Add a new discussion topic

To compose a message, click on the forum link and then click the Add a new discussion topic button. This brings up an editor where you enter your post. You can also attach a file  or insert an image in your post (see The Moodle Editor) for information on this).

Screenshot of the forum editor

When you are ready to post your message, click on the 'Post to forum' button. The same method applies for replying to posts already in the forum. Just click on the Reply link in the post and the editor will display for you to complete your reply.

Forum reply

30 minute delay when posting

When you are ready to post your reply, click on the 'Post to forum' button. Your reply will be immediately visible to others in the unit, but you still have 30 minutes to make changes if you need to. Once the 30 minutes is up, emails will be sent to anyone subscribed to the forum. Only the teaching staff or a Moodle administrator can remove/ edit the message after the 30 minutes has passed.

 

How to Compile a Record of Your Own Posts to a Document

You can use the Advanced Forum Search page to search for forum posts based on a date range, or a keyword/s or all posts by one Author. If you wish you can use this to compile a list of your own posts and copy them to your wordprocessor for your own records. When the teaching period is over you will lose access to your current units, so it may be helpful to keep a personal record of your posts. You can specify yourself as the Author and if you wish you can limit the compilation to a single forum (the instructions below are for all forums in a single teaching site). You would have to repeat the instructions for each teaching site you want to copy records from.

Click Here to download the PDF instructions

Last modified: Tuesday, 24 October 2017, 1:51 PM