Forums Moodle ISU


Forums in Moodle ISU allow students to answer questions, reply to one another, and discuss specific topics.

The News Forum is a unique forum for instructors to make announcements to students. Students cannot reply in the News Forum. A News Forum is automatically created in each Moodle ISU course. When an instructor posts a News Forum announcement, it is automatically sent to each student’s ISU email address and is also posted in the Latest News block.

This guide will help you to:

Create a Forum

  1. Turn editing on. For more information, see Moodle ISU Overview.  
  2. Locate the week/topic where you want to add the forum.
  3. Click Add an activity or resource.

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  1. Select Forum.
  2. Click Add.

General Section

  1. In the Forum name text box, Type the name of the forum. This is what students will click on to access the forum from the front page.


  1. In the Description field, Type the forum instructions or a welcome message.
  1. If you would like the description to display on the course page, Check the box next to Display description on course page.

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Note: For the Single Simple Discussion, these instructions become the first post in the single discussion thread.  

  1. From the Forum type dropdown menu, Select the type of forum you want to use.
  1. A single simple discussion: You have a single discussion topic, to which everyone can reply.  This is useful for short, focused discussions.  
  2. Each person posts one discussion: Each person can post exactly one new discussion topic (everyone can reply to all of the other discussions).
  3. Q & A forum: Requires the instructor to post the initial question and then the students must reply before viewing other students' responses.  After their initial posting, students can view and respond to other posts.

Note: For the instructor, the button which normally reads Add a new discussion topic now reads Add a new question. The students do not see this button.

Note: For more options for working with the Q&A forum, contact ITRC - (208)-282-5880 or email

  1. Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format: All of the discussion topics, including student replies, are displayed on one page with a Discuss this topic link that takes you to the discussion of the chosen topic. This type of forum is useful if you want to be able to read the topic message without having to enter the discussion. Students are able to post multiple topics and reply at any time.
  2. Standard forum for general use: An open forum in which anyone can start any number of new discussion topics at any time and everyone can reply to one another. This is the most commonly used forum.

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  1. From the Maximum attachment size dropdown menu, Select the largest size of file that can be uploaded to this forum.
  2. From the Maximum number of attachments dropdown menu, Select how many attachments a student can attach to a single post.

Note: 1MB is generally more than sufficient for most Word documents.  If your students are turning in files that include pictures (i.e., Magazine layouts, PowerPoint files), you will want to increase the file size as well as discuss how to compress images.

  1. From the Display word count dropdown menu, Select Yes or No.

Note: Displaying the word count is useful when grading the forum if you have specified a required number of words as part of the posting criteria.

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  1. From the Subscription mode dropdown menu, Select the subscription mode you would like to apply to the forum.
  1. Subscribing to a forum means you will get an email copy of every post in the forum (emails are sent after a 30 minute editing period has passed). You can change your default setting in your profile.
  1. To do so, see Forum Tracking.

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  1. Optional subscription: Users can manage their subscription preferences to the forum. This is the default which leaves the choice up to each user.
  2. Forced subscription: Everyone (including the teachers) will be subscribed with no option to unsubscribe.  The News Forum uses this option.  
  3. Auto subscription: All current and future students will be subscribed initially but they can unsubscribe themselves at any time. This is useful to help students recognize a new forum has begun.  Users still have control over their subscriptions.
  4. Subscription disabled: Students cannot be subscribed to the forum.

Note: When changing the subscription options in a forum, the change will only affect future posts; it will not automatically subscribe or unsubscribe existing students/instructors.

  1. From the Read tracking dropdown menu, Select your read tracking setting.

Note: If this is enabled, students can track read and unread messages in forums and discussions. This means that students will see a notice next to the forum activity on the course page that shows the number of unread posts.

  1. Optional:  Students can turn tracking on or off for the forum at their discretion within their profile settings.
  1. For more information, see Forum Tracking.
  1. Off: Tracking is always off.

Note: Users must have enabled Forum Tracking in their profile to be able to use this option.

Post Threshold for Blocking Section

Thresholds for blocking allow you to block excessive posting within a specified time frame.

To limit posts to a specific time period:

  1. From the Time period for blocking dropdown menu, Define the period in which a student may create posts. After this time period, their count will reset.
  1. For example, if you have the time period set to 1 day and the post threshold set to 5, then a student can only post 5 times in a given day. After 24 hours, their count will reset.


  1. In the Post threshold for blocking text box, Type the number of posts a student can make in the time period you set in the Time period for blocking dropdown menu.

Note: If posts have been limited to a certain number, you can give them a warning when they approach the threshold.

  1. In the Post threshold for warning text box, Type the number of posts after which a student will be warned that they are approaching their post limit for the time period.

Note: Leaving the Time period for blocking as Don’t block will disable this function.


Grade Section

If you have created categories in your gradebook this section will allow you to place the forum into a grade category if the forum is being graded.  If you have not created categories in your gradebook, Uncategorized will be the only option in the dropdown menu. A forum not set for grading will not appear in the gradebook.

  1. From the Grade category dropdown menu, Select the category you would like this assignment to show up under in your gradebook.

Note: You can always move an activity into a grade category within the gradebook.

Note: You must first create a category in the gradebook before it will appear in this dropdown menu.  

For more information, see Gradebook: Using the Gradebook.

Ratings Section

When you are grading a forum post, it is referred to as rating.  If you do not want to use the Moodle ISU rating system to grade your forum, or the forum is not being graded, leave the Aggregate type as No ratings and skip to the next section.

  1. Roles with permission to rate tells you which roles (student, faculty, administrator, etc.) have permission to rate the posts in the forum.

Note: The option to add or change roles with permission to rate will not be available until you have saved your Forum activity.

  1. From the Aggregate type dropdown menu,  Select how you would like the students’ post ratings to be calculated to form their final grade for this forum in the gradebook.
  1. No ratings: Posts in this forum will not be rated and the forum will not appear in the gradebook.
  2. Average of ratings: The average rating of all of the student’s posts.
  3. Count of ratings: The student’s grade will be equal to their number of rated posts.
  4. Maximum rating: The student’s highest rating will be their grade.
  5. Minimum rating: The student’s lowest rating will be their grade.
  6. Sum of ratings: All of the student’s ratings are added together to make their grade.


Note: For more information about the forum aggregate types, see Forum settings.

  1. From the Scale Type dropdown menu, Select which type of scale with which the forum will be rated.
  1. None
  2. Scale - Choose from Satisfactory or Separate and connected ways of knowing.
  1. You can create a custom scale.
  2. For more information, contact ITRC - (208)-282-5880 or email

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  1. Point - The Maximum points text box will be enabled.
  1. Enter the points possible from 1 to 100.


Note: The Scale and Maximum point menus will not be available if you choose No ratings in the Aggregate type.

Restrict Ratings

  1. If you want to restrict the ability to rate within certain dates, Check the box next to Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range.
  2. From the From and To dropdown menus, Select the desired date and times.

Note: Restricting the ratings DOES NOT restrict students from posting. Students can post outside the window, but you will not be able to rate those postings.


Common module settings

For more information, see Groups and Groupings.

Restrict access

For more information, see Conditional Release.

Activity completion

For more information, see Activity Completion.

To save:

  1. Click Save and display.
  2. Click Save and return to course to be taken back to the course homepage.
  3. Click Cancel to delete the forum.


Post to a Forum

  1. Click on the forum.
  2. Click Add a new discussion topic.

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  1. Type your subject and message in the indicated text boxes.


4.    Set your discussion subscription preference using the dropdown menu.

5.   To include an attachment in the forum post, Use the drag and drop file box.

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6.    Click Post to forum to add your discussion to the forum.

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Rating Forum Posts

  1. Click on the forum.
  2. You will notice in each post, on the bottom right, there will be a Rate dropdown menu.
  3. Select the appropriate score.

Note: For more strategies and techniques for grading forums, contact ITRC - (208)-282-5880 or email


Changing Rating Permissions

You can change the permissions to allow other roles - i.e. students - to rate forum posts.  This can be done for an entire course or for a specific activity.

To change the permissions for a specific forum:

  1. Click on the forum.
  1. In the Administration block, you will see Forum administration. Underneath that,  you will see the options for changing the settings for this specific forum. If you do not see the options, Click on the triangle to the left of Forum administration.
  2. Click Permissions.


  1. Scroll down until you see the Activity: Forum main section.
  2. Locate the Rate posts section.
  3. Click the + in the Roles with permission column (the first column) to allow a role to rate posts.
  4. Click the X to remove a role’s ability to rate posts.

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  1. Select the desired role from the Select role dropdown menu.
  2. Click Allow.

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For more information, see Forum module.

For additional information, contact ITRC - (208)-282-5880 or email

This work was done by Instructional Technology Resource Center at Idaho State University and is licensed under the Creative Commons Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 United States or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.