Discussion Forums

For more information about Discussion Forums, you can look through the information bellow or read Moodle's Support documentation

Changes to forums in 3.9

There are a handful of changes to the forums in 3.9

Whole Forum Grading- In Moodle 3.9 you are now able to grade a student’s collection of posts in the forum. This is in addition to the rating system that has been present in Moodle 3.5. You can learn to set up the Whole Forum Grading bellow.

Star a discussion - You can now star a discussion topic in a forum activity. This will bring that discussion topic to the top of an individuals’ forum, under any pined posts. Staring an topic is on an individual account and can not be done for the complete class.

Change in subscription icon – In Moodle 3.9 the option to subscribe to a form topic has changed. The system now uses a slide bar to indicate if you are subscribed or not. A blue slider bar indicates you are subscribed.
forum subscribe.png

Locking a topic – Teachers can lock an individual forum topic to prevent students from adding anymore posts to that topic. 
lock discussion.png

Creating a Discussion

Creating an online discussion is a great way to continue learning outside the classroom. To create an online discussion, we can use the Forum activity.

  1. Click the Gear icon (upper right) and choose Turn Editing On
  2. Click Add an Activity or Resource.
  3. Choose Forum and click Add.
  4. Give the discussion a name, pose a question, and under Ratings, set the point value.
  5. Then click Save and Display.

Email Notifications (Subscription)

If you are subscribed to a forum, you will be notified by email of every subsequent post to that forum. These emails allow you to stay informed when new posts are added. Depending on the number of responses to the forum, this could quickly fill up your mailbox. Fortunately, people can usually decide whether or not to be subscribed to a forum, unless the instructor chooses to force the subscription (see item below for how to unsubscribe from a forum).


Faculty can choose if the subscription to a Discussion Forum is Forced, Optional, Auto-subscribed, or disabled. Forced subscriptions prevent users from unsubscribing.

To change the Subscription Setting:

  1. Navigate to the Forum and click the Gear icon.
  2. Change the Subscription Setting to Optional, Auto, or disabled.

To unsubscribe from a forum:

  1. Navigate to the Forum and click the Gear icon.
  2. Click unsubscribe. (If you cannot, the instructor may need to change the subscription setting.)

Grading Forum Posts -Rating

In Moodle you can grade a Forum by rating individual post. This is a more granular way of grading then the Whole Forum Grading discussed below.

  1. When creating your Forum or after you have created your form got to the Ratings sectionrate.png
  2. Change the Aggregate Type from No ratings to the rating type you would prefer. The most common recommended type is Sum of ratings. This type can be chosen for forums where you would give an initial set of point to one post and then another set to student replies.aggregate type.png
  3. Keep the Type as Points
  4. In the Maximum grade add the maximum number of points a student can get. If a student can get 10 points for their original post and are required to post two replies worth 5 points each, you would put 20 in the maximum grade section.maximum grade.png
  5. If you want only forum posted in a time to be able to be rated (graded) select the Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range: and select the time frame for the posts. Note: this will not prevent students from posting outside of the time.restrict rating.png
  6. Once done setting the ratings section. Go to the Grade section to put in a grade category if they are set up in the gradebook.grade.png
  7. When done select Save And Return To Coursesave and return.png

Forum Grading - Whole Forum

In Moodle 3.9 forum grading now has two options. The current rating option where you can rate individual posts and the New Whole Forum Grade option. This option allows you to grade the student's overall contributions to the forum.

Setting up Whole Forum Grading

  1. When setting up or editing the forum go to the Whole Forum Grading section.
    Whole Forum grading
  2. In the Type dropdown select the Point option
    point options.png
  3. Set the Maximum grade for the forum
    maximum grade.png
  4. Leave the Grading Method as simple direct grading
  5. If your Gradebook has categories use the Grade Category option to place the forum into the correct category.
  6. If you want the student notified when they receive a grade change the Default Setting For “Notify Students” to Yes
  7. When done setting up the forum select either Save And Return TO Course or Save And Display
    save and display.png

Grading a Student

  1. When you are ready to grade the student’s post go to the forum activity.
    fourm name.png
  2. In the activity select Grade Users
    grade user.png
  3. You will be brought in the Discussion Forum grade screen. Here you will see all the posts from a student for the chosen forum.
    forum posts.png
  4. If the student’s post is a reply to another students you can select the View Parent Post option to see the conversation in context.
    parent post.png
  5. To grade the student, use the Grading section on the left-hand side.
    grade student.png
  6. To notify the student that their posts have been graded, change the Notifications settings from No to Yes, send notification to student.
  7. To move onto another student, select the arrows.
  8. When done grading select the Save button then the Close button
    save and close.png
  9. The grade will then appear in the Gradebook as Whole forum grade for [[Forum Name]]
    grade book name.png

PDF Instructions