Creating a Discussion Forum

Forum settings allow you to use the Discussion Board in different ways. For example, to control the forum, the instructor creates all threads, and moderates and grades the posts. For a student-led discussion, allow students to create new threads with the option of posting anonymously.

QUICK STEPS:  creating forums

  1. On the main Discussion Board page, on the Action Bar, click Create Forum.
  2. On the Create Forum page, type a Name. Users click this name to access the forum.
  3. Optionally, type instructions or a description in the Description text box. Format the text using the Text Editor functions, if you want. The Description appears below the forum name.
  4. Under Forum Availability, select the Yes option.
  5. Select Forum Settings.
  6. Click Submit.

TIP: Create forums ahead of time and set the availability to No until the discussion is ready to start.

Forum Settings

  • Choose whether to allow anonymous posts, file attachments, thread creation, subscription, and member rating of posts.
  • Choose whether to grade discussion posts. Once grading has been enabled, a Grade Center item is created.
  • Select the Grade Forum option and type a point value to evaluate students on performance throughout the forum.
  • Select the Grade Threads option to evaluate students on performance in each thread chosen.

Students cannot create new threads or respond anonymously if the Grade Threads option is selected for the forum.

The grading process will be explained in the Grading Discussions section of the manual.

Suggestions for Organizing Discussions

The most common approach for organizing discussions is to type your discussion topic in the forum title and add details in the forum description.

  • Type a subject or a discussion question in the forum title and provide instructions or details in the description.
  • Allow students to create threads. In the preceding example, each thread represents a student’s solution to the problem of oil addiction.
  • Users can post to existing threads to comment on given answers or create new threads to present new solutions.

Another approach is to pose the discussion question or topic in a thread. This can be an efficient way to organize related topics.

  • Type the general subject in the forum title.
  • Create threads containing the specific issues to be discussed.
  • In this case, consider disallowing thread creation, ensuring that students can only post to existing threads.

Suggestions for Settings

The following table offers some suggested settings for various types of forums.

If you want to Select settings
Create effective social forums
  • Allow anonymous posts
  • No grading in forum
Create forums where users have control of the discussion
  • Allow author to delete own posts
  • Allow author to edit own published posts
  • Allow members to create new threads
  • Allow members to rate posts
Have a tightly controlled forum
  • Force moderation of posts
  • Grade by forum or grade by thread
  • Do not allow members to create new threads so they focus on existing threads

If you allow authors to edit their published posts, consider locking the forum so posts cannot be changed after they are graded.

Some settings cannot be selected in combination. For example, if you are grading forums or threads, anonymous posts are not allowed. Also, members cannot create new threads, if thread grading is enabled.