Forums are an online space for discussion where LEO users can create posts and other users can respond to them. 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)
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.
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:
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