Faculty: Troubleshoot a Forum

We hear frequent questions about a few features related to forums. Is your question answered here?

Why can't my students reply to my forum prompt?
Generally, students are unable to reply in one of two cases:

  1. Standard forum—The forum is set up for groups and students are not enrolled in a group. Open the forum in edit mode and check the Common module settings for group options. OR
  2. Q&A forum—You haven't made an initial post for your students to reply to. Unlike the other forum types, a Q&A forum needs to have a thread posted by you in addition to the overall prompt that you enter in the Description field. Students don't have an Add a discussion link in a Q&A forum; they can only reply to a thread that you initiate.

Why don't I see unread posts on my course page?
If you don't see new forum posts highlighted in yellow on your course home page as shown in the example below, check out these instructions for updating your forum preferences.

How do I get rid of the "recent forum posts" notices on my course page?
Recent posts to an advanced forum are featured on the course main page. If you would like to reduce this potential contribution to Moodle's infamous "Death Scroll," click on the Edit settings icon associated with the forum and deselect the option to Display recent posts on course page as shown below. New posts will still be indicated in yellow on your main course page and will be highlighted with a New! icon within the forum when you open it.

How can I find out when a student posted a response?
To view the time and date stamp for a student's forum post, hover over the notice of elapsed time (e.g., 3 hours ago) with your mouse and the actual time the post was made will be displayed in a pop-up window. (We'd wave our Moodle magic wand over this if we could to have the time stamp displayed instead of elapsed time, but at least it's possible to ascertain when a post was made.)

Why can't my students reply in the "Announcements" forum?
Although Moodle considers this feature a forum, it is not a true discussion forum—only the instructor can post messages to it and students may not reply in it. 
Do not attempt to use the Announcements feature as a discussion forum, as students will not be able to post replies in it.

Can I set a closing date for my forums?
The short answer is no. The longer answer is there are ways to manage forums, depending on your needs.

  • Use ratings. If you use the rating method of grading forums, you can set a date range for which posts will be gradeable.
  • Assign the "No new threads" role. If you are using a standard general forum, you can follow the instructions in the forum guide to prevent
    students from making new posts.
  • Use restrict access. Restricting access is an effective way to manage deadlines BUT there is a big downside: if you restrict access, students can't open the forum to review any of the posts made during the life of the forum. That action essentially makes the forum unavailable to all students.

Can I arrange to have a guest speaker enrolled in my course to participate in a follow-up forum?
Yes. Submit a ticket to the Moodle team at support.sou.edu providing the individual's name and email address along with the CRN of the course you would like to provide access to and we'll create an account for you.