The forum activity module enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time.
There are several forum types to choose from, such as a standard forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time; a forum where each student can post exactly one discussion; or a question and answer forum where students must first post before being able to view other students’ posts. A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.
Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.
Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the grade book.
Forums have many uses, such as:
A social space for students to get to know each other
For course announcements (using a news forum with forced subscription)
For discussing course content or reading materials
For continuing online an issue raised previously in a face-to-face session
For teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
A help center where tutors and students can give advice
A one-on-one support area for private student-teacher communications (using a forum with separate groups and with one student per group)
For extension activities, for example ‘brain teasers’ for students to ponder and suggest solutions to
“Forums” are exclusively for synchronous courses this activity along with any other interactive social activity will need to be monitored and maintained. This means that a trainer and (preferably) a SME need to be given permission to monitor, moderate, and lead discussions and provide structure to the content.
Every forum should have an assigned SME as well as a trainer that will be accountable to monitor any activity and respond to concerns. All forums can be subscribed to and you can receive a daily digest of all forum posts of which you are a member.
There are some useful forums that may have limited monitoring such as the Q&A forum. This forum allows a single response to a prompt from a learner. They cannot see other’s responses until they write their own. This forum type can be a very useful tool for learners to check their own learning for more complex concepts where a “Choice” activity may not be enough.