The "Standard forum for general use" is the default choice in Moodle. However, the layout of the standard forum means instructors must open each thread separately, making it difficult to simultaneously assess quantity (number of posts/replies as required) and quality (the merit of the content within the context).
Instructors can run a Forum Post Report to determine the number of times a student has posted (or replied) to a Forum. However, the report gives no sense of the content/context/quality of the postings. The “Q and A forum” type displays student responses to the assignment prompt AND replies to other students all on one page--thus streamlining the reading and grading process. [NOTE: this single-page layout is also used in a “Single simple discussion," but instructors cannot create groups (a key element of the successful forum discussion) when using that type.]
- In your Moodle course, turn editing on (button in the upper right corner), and in the appropriate topic section, click the "Add and activity or resource link."
- Select "Forum" from the list and then "Add."
- Name the forum and provide instructions for students (include all pertinent information--due dates and times, length and number of posts, etc.). From the dropdown menu under "Forum type" select "Q and A forum."
- If you intend to score students' postings within the Forum activity, scroll down and under "Ratings/Aggregate type" select "Sum of ratings" and enter the maximum number of points.
- It is highly recommended that you use small discussion groups to increase student engagement (large groups can lead to an overwhelming number of posts and inhibit originality). [NOTE: See the article entitled Creating Groups in Moodle for instructions on building groups.] To employ groups in the forum, under "Common module settings/Group mode"
- In order for students to participate, the instructor MUST begin the discussion thread by posting an assignment prompt or question to EACH group. [NOTE that the forum indicates "There are no questions yet in this forum."] From the dropdown menu next to "Separate groups" select a group and then "Add a new question."
- Name the posting and type the assignment prompt or question in the window, then scroll down and click on "Post to forum." [NOTE: repeat steps 6 and 7 for each discussion group.] When you are done, you should see a new thread for each group.
- However, students will see only one post--the one for their group. They will click on the link to open the thread, and then on "reply" (lower right corner) to respond. [NOTE: When students open the Forum there is an explanation that they will not be able to read other students' posts in the forum until they reply.] Once they have posted, students can reply to other students' postings by clicking on "reply" at the bottom of the posting.
- To grade, read, and assess student posts, click on the link to your original posting for a group.
- Open the thread by clicking on the link to your post. Students' posts can be graded by clicking on the dropdown menu next to "Sum of ratings" and selecting the appropriate value. [NOTE: grades are automatically entered into the gradebook when you select them from the dropdown menu--there is no "save" step.]
(keywords: moodle, forum, grading)
Last Modified: 2015/03/19