Skip to Main Content

Moodle - Faculty QuickStart Guide: Forums

This faculty quickstart guide for getting started with Moodle includes information about course settings, adding resources, setting up and conducting activities, and user profiles.

RSS Feed

Loading ...

Moodle - Forums

HTML clipboard

Discussion Forums

  1. Getting to the discussion forums
  2. How to use the discussion forums
  3. Reading a message
  4. Posting a response to a message
  5. Posting a new message
  6. Editing a message
  7. Subscribing to a forum
  8. Read/Unread
  9. Other information
  10. Instructor Options

Discussion forums are the Moodle equivalent of the historical GSLIS bulletin board system.  Like the  bulletin boards, the discussion forums can be used to post announcements, share ideas, and continue in-class discussions outside of class time. While you will primarily participate in the forums through Moodle, it is also possible to subscribe to discussion forums and have posts come to you by email. For the time being, the discussion forums will only be used for Moodle classes; GSLIS community discussions will still take place on the GSLIS bulletin board system.

Getting to the discussion forums

You can access the discussion forums two ways.


Click on the discussion forum icon or name on your class page.


Click on the discussion forum icon in the list of activities. You will then see a list of all the forums in your class.



Scroll down until you find the forum you need. Click on the forum icon or name. This view also lets you see if there are new/unread posts in any of your forums.

How to use the discussion forums

Once you have clicked on the discussion forum, you will have a number of options. You can:

  • read what others have posted
  • post a response or create a new post

Reading a message

When you first access the discussion forums, you will see discussion "threads" displayed with the most recently updated thread at the top. Moodle shows "threads" at the top level, with replies to the thread available after clicking on the top level message.

To view a message, click on the the message name under "Thread".

If there are other replies to the message, you can view them in a thread below the original message.

Posting a response to a message

To reply to a message you've read, click on "Reply" in the lower right hand corner of the message.

In the upper left hand corner of your browser, you will see the original message. In the center of your browser, you will see a box in which you can compose your response. Depending on your browser, you may see something slightly different than the screendshot below. Some browsers, like Internet Explorer (PC), Mozilla Firefox, and Mozilla Camino (Mac) support a rich-text or WYSIWYG editor.



Using the rich-text editor, you will have access to a variety of options through the formatting palette located above the text box:

formatting palette

Many features will be familiar from other word processing programs like Word.  In addition to these features, you can also clean up Word-generated HTML clean up Word HTML, check your spelling spellcheck, switch to plain-text or code view code view, and expand to a full-screen editor full screen editor.

Other browsers, like Safari (Mac), do not support the rich-text or WYSIWYG editor.  If you are using Safari, you will not see the rich text editor, and you won't have access to the formatting palette.  We suggest using FireFox.

Once you have completed your message, you have a couple of options.

You can choose to subscribe to the forum. This means that every time someone posts to the forum, you will receive a copy in your email. By default you are NOT subscribed to most forums; however, if you wish to subscribe, select "Send me email copies of posts to this forum" from the drop-down menu.

You can add an attachment to your post. Click on "Browse", then find the file you wish to attach. Select the file, then click on "Open". The file location should automatically appear in the "Attachment" box.

When you are ready to post your message, click on "Post to forum".

After you post a message, the page will reload and display your message in the thread. You are able to edit your message after it is posted. You have 30 minutes to edit or delete the message before it is permanently posted.

Posting a new message

If you wish to post a new message in a forum, click on "Add a new discussion topic."

After this step, follow the same instructions for posting a reply.

Editing a message

After you have posted a message, you have 30 minutes to edit or delete the message before it is permanently posted. To edit your message, click on the "Edit" button in the lower right hand corner of the message. To delete your message, click on the "Delete" button in the lower right hand corner of the message.

If you are editing your message, you will see the same screen you saw when you intially posted, along with your message in the text box. Make any changes, then click on "Post to forum".

If you are deleting your message, you will be asked to confirm that you want to delete the message.

delete post

The message will be displayed in the lower left hand corner. Click "yes" to confirm, or "no" to cancel.

Subscribing to a forum

There are two ways to subscribe to a forum. You can subscribe at the time of posting/replying, as described above. Select "Send me email copies of posts to this forum" from the drop down menu at the time you post, then click on "Post to forum".

You can also subscribe from the top level of the forum. When you first view the forum, you will see the forum description and any message threads. In the upper right hand corner of this page, you have a couple of options.

To subscribe, click on "Subscribe to this forum".

If you are already subscribed you will see an uption that says "Unsubscribe from this forum". Clicking on this link will unsubscribe you.


Moodle keeps track of whether or not you have read a post. This information will be displayed on your course page and in the individual forum.

New message notifications on your course page will look like this:

unread posts

New message notifications in the forum will look like this:

If you are reading a message and new unread messages exist, you should see a button in the middle of the page allowing you to navigate to "More unread messages". Click on this button to go to the next unread message.

more unread messages

If you do not want to keep track of unread messages, click on "Do not track unread messages" from the main page of the forum.

You can also mark posts as read from the forum list:

forum list

To access this list, click on "Forums" in the Activities block, or click on "Forums" in the breadcrumb trail while viewing an individual forum.  If a forum has unread messages, a checkmark unread checkmark will appear in the fourth column.  Clicking on this checkmark will mark all posts in that thread as read.


Other information

  • Not all browsers are created equal. The text editor may show up differently based on the browser you are using. We recommend FireFox.
  • Please read and write carefully! While you do have 30 minutes to review, edit, or delete your post, it's always a good idea to reread before posting.

Instructor Options



Creating a Forum

To create a forum, first Turn Editing On

From the Add an activity drop-down menu in the appropriate week, select Forum.

Provide a name and type for your forum:

Forum Name & Type

You have several options for forum type:

  • Standard forum for general use is the default forum type.  It allows anyone to start a discussion or reply to a post.
  • A single simple discussion distills a forum down to a single discussion thread.
  • Each person creates one thread can be useful for focused discussion.  Each person can create one thread, but they can reply to all other threads and posts.
  • Q and A forum requires students to make an original post before responding to other posts.

The forum description field allows you to provide introductory text for discussion:

Forum description

The forum description is a good place for discussion questions or prompts, as well as for instructions on the use of a specific focused forum.

The name and description fields are required; in addition, you have a variety of options for other settings.

Subscribe, Read, Attachments

Force everyone to be subscribed?
  By default, the only forum with forced subscriptions is the News and Announcements forum.  Subscription information is described elsewhere in this guide.  Subscription options are No (the default), Subscriptions not allowed, Yes, initially (which allows students to opt out), and Yes, forever.
Read tracking for this forum?  By default, everyone is forced to track read/unread messages.  You can change these options, but they may be overridden by site-wide settings.
The Maximum attachment size by default is 500 KB, but it can be increased to 2 MB.


Rating allows you as an instructor to give points for forum posts that count towards the final grade.  More information is provided in the Grades portion of this guide.


These settings allow you to set a warning threshold, then  block an individual from posting if they exceed the threshold in a certain amount of time.  The default settings do not include a threshold or blocking; if there is a concern about posting behavior, we would recommend that you discuss it with the individual or class before blocking posts.


Group mode allows you to control access to the forums by group, using groups set up in the Groups menu.  Visible Groups or Separate Groups will use groups set up in from the Groups menu.  More information on Groups is available in the Groups portion of this guide.

The Visible option allows you to Show (or make available) or Hide (keep hidden) the new forum.

Scroll to the bottom of the page, then click on Save changes to create the forum.


Additional Information

More information on the Forum tool is available here: