Creating new forums and topics

Note: To complete these procedures, you must be assigned a role having the necessary permissions. To determine your role, follow the directions in Participant roles. For a basic understanding of roles and permissions, see Permissions and roles: Overview.

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Note: To change the default settings for certain options in all future forums and topics you create, change the template settings; see Changing forum template settings. You can override the template settings for individual forums and topics you create by following the steps below.

Creating a forum

A default forum and topic is populated for each site. To create a new forum:

  1. In your site's menubar, click Forums.

  2. At the top, click New Forum. The Forum Settings screen will open.

  3. In the "Forum Title" field, type your forum's title.

  4. In the "Short Description" field, you can provide a brief description (limited to 255 characters) that will be displayed along with the title in the Forums area.

  5. In the "Description" field, you can enter an in-depth description of your forum, and provide any associated information or resources.

  6. Under "Attachments", you can attach a file from your local computer or from Resources, or specify the address for a file on the web. For instructions, see Options for adding attachments.

  7. To disable forum postings, under "Forum Posting", check Lock Topic (Disable forum postings).

  8. To moderate forum postings, under "Forum Posting", check Moderate topics in forum.

  9. To require students to post before reading others' postings, check Require users to post before reading. (Note that instructions or prompts should go in the short or full description boxes with this option, since students won't be able to see conversations initially.)

  10. Under "Availability", you can choose to display the forum immediately or to specify availability dates.

  11. To automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read at one time, under "Mark All Messages in Conversations Read", check Automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read. With this setting, each time you open the first message in a conversation, all messages within that conversation are automatically marked as read. The default setting tracks read/unread status for each message individually. (With the default setting, you can also manually click Mark All as Read for a given conversation.)

  12. Next to "Gradebook Item", use the drop-down list to choose an item with which the forum should be associated.

    Note: To add an item to the Gradebook, see Adding, editing, or deleting a Gradebook item.

  13. Under "Permissions", you can modify permission levels for participant roles (and groups, if you've created them; see Managing groups). Click the right arrow next to "Permissions" to expand the options available. Next to the role of the participant, use the Permission Level drop-down list to select from several predefined permission levels. Additionally, you can create custom permission levels by clicking the right arrow next to "Customize" to enable or disable specific functions.

    Note: Forum permission settings will apply to all subsequently created topics in that forum, but if you modify forum permission settings after topics have been created, you must change the topic permission settings separately.

    For details, see Controlling access in Forums.

  14. When you're finished, click one of the following:

    • Save: Save your changes.
    • Save Settings & Add Topic: Save your changes and add a topic to your forum.
    • Save Draft: Save your forum as a draft. Forums saved as draft will not be available to site participants.
    • Cancel: Cancel your changes.

    Note: Students will be unable to see or post in your forum until you add at least one topic.

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Creating topics individually

To create topics one at a time, follow the instructions below. If you want to quickly create similar topics for different groups of participants, see Automatically creating multiple topics for groups.

To add a topic while you're creating your forum, first finish creating the forum, and then click Save Settings & Add Topic.

To add a topic later (i.e., after you've created and saved your forum), on the Forums screen, to the right of your forum's title, click New Topic.

On the Topics Settings screen:

  1. Next to "Topic Title", enter a title in the text box (required).

  2. Next to "Short Description", you can provide a brief description (limited to 255 characters) that will display below the title.

  3. Next to "Description", you can enter an in-depth description of your topic, and provide any associated information or resources.

  4. To add an attachment, under "Attachments", click Add Attachment. The file selector screen will open. See Options for adding attachments.

  5. To disable topic postings, under "Topic Postings", check Lock Topic (Disable topic postings).

  6. To moderate topic postings, under "Topic Posting", check Moderate Topic.

  7. To require students to post before reading others' postings, check Require users to post before reading. (Note that instructions or prompts should go in the short or full description boxes with this option, since students won't be able to see conversations initially.)

  8. Under "Availability", you can choose to display the topic immediately or to specify availability dates.

  9. To automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read at one time, under "Mark All Messages in Conversations Read", check Automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read. With this setting, each time you open the first message in a conversation, all messages within that conversation are automatically marked as read. The default setting tracks read/unread status for each message individually. (With the default setting, you can also manually click Mark All as Read for a given conversation.)

  10. Next to "Gradebook Item", use the drop-down list to choose an item with which the topic should be associated.

    Note: To add an item to the Gradebook, see Adding, editing, or deleting a Gradebook item.

  11. Unless you are creating multiple topics at once (see Automatically creating multiple topics for groups), under "Automatically Create Topics", leave the default selection (Create one topic) selected.
  12. Under "Permissions", you can modify permission levels for participant roles (and groups, if you've created them; see Managing groups). Click the right arrow next to "Permissions" to expand the options available. Next to the role of the participant, use the Permission Level drop-down list to select from several predefined permission levels. Additionally, you can create custom permission levels by clicking the right arrow next to "Customize" to enable or disable specific functions.

    Note: Forum permission settings will apply to all subsequently created topics in that forum, but if you modify forum permission settings after topics have been created, you must change the topic permission settings separately.

    For details, see Controlling access in Forums.

  13. When you're finished, click one of the following:

    • Save: Save your changes, post the topic, and exit the Forum Settings screen. You'll see your newly posted topic within your forum on the Forums screen.
    • Save Draft: Save your topic as a draft.
    • Save Settings & Add Topic: Save your changes and add another topic to your forum.
    • Cancel: Cancel your changes.

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Automatically creating multiple topics for groups

A common use of Forums is creating separate topics for existing groups to facilitate private discussions for each group. Topics can be created individually and the permissions set manually, but the option described below expedites the process.

On the Topics Settings screen:

  1. Create groups, or confirm that groups have already been created in this site. See Managing groups.

  2. Next to "Topic Title", enter a title in the text box (required).

  3. Next to "Short Description", you can provide a brief description (limited to 255 characters) that will display below the title.

  4. Next to "Description", you can enter an in-depth description of your forum, and provide any associated information or resources.

  5. To add an attachment, under "Attachments", click Add Attachment. The file selector screen will open. See Options for adding attachments.

  6. To disable topic postings, under "Topic Postings", check Lock Topic (Disable topic postings).

  7. To moderate topic postings, under "Topic Posting", check Moderate Topic.

  8. To require students to post before reading others' postings, check Require users to post before reading. (Note that instructions or prompts should go in the short or full description boxes with this option, since students won't be able to see conversations initially.)

  9. Under "Availability", you can choose to display the forum topic immediately or to specify availability dates.

  10. To automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read at one time, under "Mark All Messages in Conversations Read", check Automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read. With this setting, each time you open the first message in a conversation, all messages within that conversation are automatically marked as read. The default setting tracks read/unread status for each message individually. (With the default setting, you can also manually click Mark All as Read for a given conversation .)

  11. Next to "Gradebook Item", use the drop-down list to choose an item with which the topic should be associated.

    Note: To add an item to the Gradebook, see Adding, editing, or deleting a Gradebook item.

  12. Under "Automatically Create Topics", select Automatically create multiple topics for groups.

  13. Check the box beside each group that you wish to create a private topic for.

  14. When you're finished, click one of the following:

    • Save: Save your changes, post the topics, and exit the Forum Settings screen. You'll see your newly posted topics within your forum on the Forums screen.
    • Save Draft: Save your topics as a draft.
    • Save Settings & Add Topic: Save your changes and add another topic to your forum.
    • Cancel: Cancel your changes.

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