Forums are a popular Activity type in LEO that can be used for discussion and assessment, and are a good way of communicating with your students.

Using forums in your units

You can create forums in your LEO units using the "Add activity or resource" link and selecting the Forum activity. There are a variety of forum types you can use. Common uses for forums in units include:

  • General topics of discussion
  • Questions and Answers forums
  • Assessment tasks (where making a post and/or responding to a post is an assessment task)
  • Group activity work

To learn more about the Forum activity, refer to LEO Guides: Forum.

To learn more about the Announcements forum, refer to LEO Guides: Announcements forum.

Keeping students engaged in forums

Regular interaction with forums in your unit is vital, to help keep the students engaged in online discussions. When using forums you should:

  • Monitor and respond to discussion posts on a regular basis.
  • Acknowledge student contributions.
  • Address topics of conversations that are not appropriate or off topic.
  • Encourage students who haven't contributed.
  • Show a social presence.
  • Encourage deep thinking or critical analysis where appropriate.

Forum groups

Forums can be set to work with "Separate groups", meaning that while all students can access a forum, they can only see and respond to the posts of others in their group. This is particularly useful if you wish to design learning activities for small groups, or if there are multiple tutorial groups in a single unit and you wish to separate the groups from one another.

Restricting discussion to a group ensures a student only posts to their specific group and encourages a more targeted response to the discussion.

The "Group mode" can be changed in the "Common module settings" section of the Forum activity settings:

Editing Forum Add group grouping

To learn more about groups, refer to LEO Guides: Groups and groupings.

University of Waterloo, Centre for Teaching Excellence. Online discussions: tips for instructors, accessed 12 July 2016.

Contact North, (2013). How to prepare and moderate online discussions for online learning. http://teachonline.ca/sites/default/files/tools-trends/downloads/how_to_plan_for_and_moderate_online_discussions.pdf. accessed 12 July 2016

Rizopoutos, L.A. & McCarthy, P. (2009). Using online threaded discussions. Best practices for the digital learner. in Journal of Educational Technology Systems, see http://ets.sagepub.com/content/37/4/373.short, accessed 12 July 2016

Learning & teaching

Please contact the Learning and Teaching Centre for professional development, resources and advice for your learning and teaching needs at ACU.

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