Create Forums and Topics

How do I create forums and topics?

The Forums tool is organized by Forums, Topics, and Conversations. 

  • A Forum is a mandatory category or grouping for topics. There may be more than one Forum in the course or project site. 
  • Topics are required within Forums in order for site participants to be able to post, read, and reply to messages. 
  • Conversations are messages or threads of discussion posted within a Topic.
    1. In the forums tool click New Forum to add a new forum.

      Note: By default, new sites are populated with a single forum titled after the name of the site, and containing one topic for General Discussion.

      Click New Forum.
    2. Add a Forum Title, a Short Description, and a Detailed Description.

      Forum titles are required for every forum.

      The short description only allows a maximum of 255 characters.

      The detailed description box allows the use of the Rich Text Editor.

      Title the Forum
    3. Add attachments. (Optional)

      Additionally, you can attach files to the forum. Click the Add attachments button to browse and select a file on your computer or a resource already uploaded in one of your courses.

      Add attachments. (Optional)


      Click the Continue button.

      View attachments
    4. Select forum posting options.

      There are several forum posting options from which to choose. Remember, any settings selected here will apply to all of the topics within this forum by default. (These settings may be overridden for individual topics if desired.)

      • Lock forum: This option locks the forum so users can no longer post messages, however, they can continue to read existing messages. 
      • Moderate topics in forum: This option means all messages posted within topics in this forum must be approved by the instructor before other students can see them.
      • Require users to post before reading: Selecting this option requires users to post their own response before they can view existing messages. This is a good option to select if the Instructor wishes students to respond to a discussion prompt before seeing other student responses.
      Select forum posting options.
    5. Select availability.

      The default option is to Show Immediately, or choose to Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide).

      Note: Setting open and close dates at the forum level can be tricky because individual topics may also have specified dates. However, the forum must be visible in order for the topics within the forum to be available to students. Typically, instructors set open/close dates at the topic level only.

      Select availability.
    6. Select Read Options

      By default, users must mark each post as read after reading. In order to make this process automatic, select Automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read.

      Select Read Options
    7. Specify Gradebook item.

      You can select a specific Gradebook item for forum grades to be sent to.

      Similar to open/close dates, associating with the Gradebook at the forum level is not always ideal because individual topics may also be graded. Faculty may prefer to grade discussions at the topic level.

      Note: You must first create the Gradebook item in Gradebook tool before you can select it to be associated with a forum or topic.

      Specify Gradebook item
    8. Save and add topic.

      Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Settings & Add Topic to create your forum.

      Note: All forums need at least one topic in order to be active.

      Save and add topic.
    9. Adjust topic settings.

      Topic settings are identical to forum settings except these settings only apply to a single topic. Topics must be created within Forums in order for site participants to be able to post, read, and reply to messages. 

      Additional options within a Topic settings are "Anonymous posts" and Automatically create topics for groups

      Enable Posts are anonymous if you want site participants to be able to post anonymously.

      Note: This setting cannot be changed once the topic is created.

      Anonymous posts.
    10. To create multiple, private group topic areas, choose Automatically create multiple topics for groups and then select each group for which a topic should be created. Each group member will be set to "Contributor" in their group's topic and "None" in other automatically created topics.

    11. Save.

      Once completed , scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button.

      To add additional topics to this forum, click the Save Settings & Add Topic button.

      Save.

How do I add a new topic?

A Forum must contain a Topic for users to create a post. To create a forum please see the previous section, Create a forum and topics.

  1. Click New Topic.

    Select New Topic. 
  2. Add a Topic Title and Descriptions.

    Topic titles are required for every topic.

    You may choose to use either a short description or a detailed description for your topic.The short description only allows a maximum of 255 characters. The detailed description box allows the use of the Rich Text Editor.

    Create a topic title and description.
  3. Add attachments. (Optional)

    You can also attach files to the topic. Click the Add attachments button to browse and select a file on your computer or in the site's resources, then click the Continue button.

    After a file is attached, the file name, file size, and file format will be displayed.

    Add attachments. (Optional)
  4. Select topic posting options.

    There are several topic posting options from which to choose. Any settings selected here will apply to this topic only.

    • Lock topic: Users can no longer post messages, but they can continue to read existing messages. 
    • Moderate topic: All messages posted within the topic must be approved by the Instructor before other students can see them.
    • Require users to post before reading: Users must post their own response before they can view existing messages. This is a good option if the instructor wishes students to respond to a discussion prompt before seeing other student responses.
    • Posts are anonymous: Site participants to be able to post anonymously.

    Note: The anonymous setting cannot be changed once the topic is created.

    Select topic posting options.
  5. Select availability.

    The default option is to Show Immediately, but you can choose to Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide) if you would like the topic to be visible at a later time.

    Select availability.
  6. Select read options.

    By default, users must manually mark each post as read after reading. To automatically mark all messages within a conversation or thread as read after reading, select Automatically mark all messages in a conversation as read.

    Select Read Options
  7. Specify Gradebook item.

    When grading topic posts, you can select a specific Gradebook item for the grades to be included in the Gradebook calculations.

    Note: You must create the gradebook item in the Gradebook tool before you can select it to be associated with a topic.

    Specify Gradebook item
  8. Automatically create topics for groups. (Optional)

    You also have the option to create discussions between specific groups. To create multiple, private group topic areas, select the radio button for Automatically create topics for groups and then check the box next to each group for which a topic should be created. Each group member will be set to "Contributor" in their group's topic and "None" in other automatically created topics.

    To learn how to create groups, see Create Groups.

    Automatically create topics for groups
  9. Set permissions.

    By default, instructors are forum Owners, and all other site participants are Contributors. The topic owner may add and delete topics, modify permissions, edit the topic settings and topic descriptions, etc. Contributors may only read, post and reply to messages.

    Set permissions



    To modify the default permissions, click the Permissions bar to open the dropdown menu. You then have the options to change permissions by role within the site, class section, or group.

    For more information on permissions, see Understanding permissions in forums.

    Set permissions
  10. Save and add topic.

    Once you have adjusted the settings to your liking, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Settings & Add Topic button. 

    Note: All forums need at least one topic in order to be active.

    Save and add topic.

Understanding Permissions in forums

In most cases, the default forum permissions are appropriate. By default, instructors are forum Owners, and all other site participants are Contributors. The forum owner may add and delete topics, modify permissions, edit the forum and topic descriptions, etc. Contributors may only read, post and reply to messages.

  • To change permissions, click Customize.

    Authors can edit and delete their own conversations but cannot moderate or identify anonymous author

    Non editing authors cannot moderate messages or identify anonymous authors, they cannot delete or edit messages

    Contributors cannot edit messages or delete, they can reply, start a new conversation, read, and mark as read conversations.

    Owners Can do everything including identifying anonymous authors

    Reviewers can read and mark as read conversations. They cannot edit or delete messages or perform any of the other functions

Click Permissions.