Forums: Overview

What it does

The Forums tool allows instructors or site leaders to create an unlimited number of discussion forums, and is integrated closely with other tools such as Resources and Gradebook.

Key concepts

Forums vs. topics: A forum is a mandatory category or grouping for topics. Topics, which are created within forums, are where participants can post conversations. A forum with the name of the site and a topic titled "General Discussion" are created by default.

Conversations: A conversation is the thread of messages in which participants post their contributions. A conversation can be created by instructors or students inside of a topic.

Grading option: Interactions can be assigned a point value and sent to the Gradebook with comments.

Counts of unread posts at a glance: On your site's Home page (select Home on the site's menubar), you can see how many unread messages or posts you have in both Messages and Forums. From My Workspace, you can see these totals for all sites you're a member of.

Email notifications: Site members can elect to receive no email notification, notification for all new postings in a site, or notification for responses to conversations they've posted in. The default is to receive notifications about new postings in conversations you have contributed to.

Composing messages: A rich-text interface allows rich text, plain text, and HTML editing. You can add attachments to any message by linking to files or web links in Resources. See The rich-text editor.

Note: Pasting text into the rich-text editor should preserve most formatting, but some types of formatting, such as colored text, may need to be added manually in the editor after pasting.

Quoted text: Use the Insert Original Text option to insert the previous post into your response.

Statistics: Forum statistics are available for site owners to determine the participation level of individual participants. You can also read all of a particular participant's posts using this feature.

Settings: The site owner (or another participant with the appropriate role) can enable participants to submit their posts to a topic before they have permission to read the responses of others.

Group awareness: Site leaders can change forum and topic settings in combination with predefined groups to allow or deny access to specific discussions per group.

Direct link to individual messages: Site leaders can copy a direct link to individual messages to use elsewhere.

Email the author of a message: Site leaders can directly email the author of a posting from within the forum tool.

Help documentation

For help documentation about the Forums tool, see Forums.