Creating a sense of belonging in any classroom environment is essential in generating a positive and interactive culture. Classroom culture also plays a critical role in how students interact interdependently.
Student participation can also be a factor in a student’s overall learning which leads to whether they are satisfied with their experience. Ultimately their overall satisfaction could impact their decision to remain where they are or to look elsewhere. With educational institutions competing to attract students, providing a classroom culture where students feel involved and connected is vital to retention.
Using an interactive social tool like a Forum activity aids in creating a classroom culture where students are more likely to be connected to the instructor and their peers within a course. Forums provide an activity where discussions can occur organically or can be organized by the instructor with specific interaction guidelines.
In Moodle, Forums are an activity used to promote asynchronous communication and discussion among peers and teachers through an online “thread.” The types of forums and different purposes for each give you the ability to decide which to use depending on what you are trying to achieve.
Let’s take a look at the Moodle Forum options – the Standard forum, Standard forum displayed like a blog, Simple forum, and Question & Answer forum – as well as how they can be used in the classroom to encourage engagement and community.
The Standard Forum
The Standard forum is applicable for larger discussions that are monitored by the instructor. A Standard forum may have numerous threads and can require frequent monitoring to weave threads together when commenting. Student can simply click a button to start a new thread when using the Standard forum.
The Standard Forum Displayed Like A Blog
The Standard forum displayed like a blog functions like the basic Standard forum but the first post is displayed in-full with the option to reply by adding a comment at the very bottom to begin a thread directly connected to that post.
The Simple Forum
The Simple forum is best for a discussion on a single concise topic. This type of forum is excellent in keeping students focused on a narrower topic or issue since the instructor asks only one question. Students can not start their own discussion when using the Simple forum. They can post their reply to the instructor’s question and read and respond to postings made by their peers.
The Question & Answer Forum
The Q&A forum encourages independent thinking. Instructors post a question and students give their response. Once their response is posted students can then see the responses from their peers. This is ideal for controversial issues or topics where you want the student to take a position and not be influenced by the ideas of others.
This is how a Q&A Forum thread looks from the outside…
Once inside the forum, learners can read the discussion topic and provide their feedback to the prompt questions…
In the Q&A Forum, the entire thread can only be viewed once a learner has contributed to the discussion…
In each of these types of Moodle forums, additional files such as images and media can be uploaded to further deepen the experience of using forums. Instructors can rate forum posts and can also allow for peer-to-peer ratings.
Instructors can also decide how students are subscribed to forums within their course, with the option to create email alerts that are sent directly to a student’s user account or leave the subscription box unchecked to allow the student to access a forum on their own without being alerted.
These types of features and settings, among other elements, can be used to customize the user experience when using forums in a Moodle course to create an interactive and engaging learning environment.
For more information, check out the video below or contact us with any questions on how to best get started with Moodle forums.