Forums: Overview

What it does

Forums is a communication tool that instructors or site leaders can use to create an unlimited number of discussion forums for their course or project sites. The Forums tool is designed to be an effective tool for both academic and collaborative work, and is integrated closely with other tools such as Resources and Gradebook.

Key concepts

Discussion forums: Asynchronous discussion provides an opportunity for your site participants to engage site resources and each other, and allows for the free expression of convergent and divergent ideas. Interactions can be assigned a point value and sent to the Gradebook with comments.

Viewing forums: On your site's Home page (select Home on the site's menubar), participants can see how many unread discussion forum messages they have. On the Forums screen, participants see the number of unread messages and the grand total of messages for each topic. In the forums list, forums and topics are viewed as a thread by default.

Composing messages: A WYSIWYG 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.

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.

Print-friendly view: A print-friendly view is available.

Import forums and topics: Reuse materials easily by importing forums and topics from your other sites.

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.

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

Ability to watch forums: Site members can elect to receive no notification, notification for all new postings in a site, or notification for responses to threads they've posted in.

View counts of Messages and Forum postings at a glance: From My Workspace, a Messages and Forums synoptic view will be available that will display all unread messages and forums for any site a user is a member of.

Help documentation

For help documentation about the Forums tool, see Forums.