Using Discussion Forums/Bulletin Boards

What is a discussion forum?
A discussion forum/board and Bulletin Board are exactly the same thing. It is a shared area where users post messages called "posts" to be viewed by others. It's similar to an email mailing list except the posts do not come into your email inbox they are stored in one location and you typically need to go to the forum/board to read or contribute. Some tools allow you to subscribe to a forum in order to receive copies of new messages by email.

What can discussion forums be used for?
Discussion forums provide an online message board that can be used for a variety of purposes:

  • Online discussions - either started online or continuing from face-to-face discussions
  • Announcements and news
  • Support - either from the tutor or from peers

How can I set up my own discussion forum?
Moodle provides discussion forums for use within a Moodle course. Moodle forums have the following features:

  • Set up multiple forums
  • Create private forums
  • Subscribe to forums to receive a copy of posts by email
  • RSS feed available
  • Rating - allow users to rate eachothers posts.
  • Grading - grade posts using a scale.
  • Authors have 30 minutes to edit their post.

Useful references:

UCL Guidelines for E-learning Communication tools