Tag Archives: news forum

Forums in Moodle 2

We’ve been enjoying exploring our new Moodle 2 site, and this week we’ve been looking at forums. Most of you will be relieved to hear that not much has changed in terms of how they work – a forum is still a useful tool for encouraging communication and collaboration between tutor and students, and between students. However, there are a few changes on the Glyndŵr Moodle 2 site that we are pleased to see.

A new forum type

First of all, there is a new forum type available. We still have the forum types Single simple discussion, Each person posts one discussion, Q and A forum, and Standard forum for general use, but we also now have the Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format. This is an open forum, where anyone can start a new discussion or reply to posts at any time, but in which discussion topics are displayed in a blog-like format, with a link to ‘Discuss this topic’ on the main forum page if others want to make comments:

Tutors also now have the option of exporting forum posts, which you may want to do in order to archive evidence of students’ contributions, for example. We can either use the Export whole discussion option, or alternatively, you can export an individual post by clicking on Export to portfolio:

You can choose to export as HTML or as Leap2A, a format which makes it easy to export to Mahara Eportfolio.

The News forum

Another improvement is that the admin settings on the News forum have been changed so that students no longer automatically have the permission to reply to posts there. In general, staff have always found it useful to be able to post an announcement here if they want all students to read it; all students receive email notifications of any new posts because they are all automatically subscribed to the news forum on their course sites. However, in Moodle 1.9 students also had the ability to reply to news forum posts (unless you overrode the permissions on the student role), which would then also generate an email to all course participants. This was not ideal when some people were already complaining of being swamped with emails from Moodle. The change in Moodle 2 mean that this should no longer be an issue, and gets another thumbs up from us.

Stop students replying to your News forum posts

The News forum appears by default in the ‘topic 0’ section of your Moodle site. It is useful for making general announcements as all users enrolled on a course are subscribed to the forum automatically, and they should receive an e-mail with a copy of any post to the forum (depending on how they have set up their profile settings).

However, even though students are not able to start a new discussion topic in the News forum, by default they can reply to posts. This would also send a message to all enrolled users (again, depending the profile settings chosen by individuals users). To avoid e-mail overload, especially if there are hundreds of students enrolled on your course, you may want to stop students being able to reply to News forum posts. This screencast explains how: