How to Use ForumNG in Moodle

What is ForumNG?

ForumNG is a replacement for a standard Moodle forum with most of the same features plus additional ones and a more dynamic user interface. NG stands for 'Next Generation'.


"ForumNG is an alternative forum for Moodle 1.9, developed by the Open University. It sits alongside the existing Moodle forum and is completely independent; you can set up new forums using either system. The forum has some additional features (and just a few that are still missing, such as most of the forum types). Here are some of the new features:

  • Advanced DHTML/AJAX (dynamic web page) support in the discussion page, which allows you to reply to, edit, rate, and delete posts without leaving the page.
  • Unique (single) discussion view which combines the benefits of 'nested' and date-related views; it is a nested view, so you can see the discussion structure, but except for unread posts (and their immediate parents), posts are 'collapsed' to a short summary, so you don't have to scroll through mounds of junk to get to the unread posts. Expanding a post is one click away.
  • Administrative improvements such as the ability to merge discussions.
  • The rating system has friendly star graphics and can be used for grading or without a grade."

How to Set up ForumNG in Moodle

  • In your course, make sure the Edit button is toggled to “on.” Click “Add an activity or resource” in the area where you’d like to set up your Forum.
  • Select “ForumNG"

Screenshot of Moodle activity chooser with ForumNG circled

  • Under “General,” add the Forum name. Select “Standard forum for general use."
  • Add the Forum Description in the next box. You can choose for the Forum description to be displayed on the course page by ticking the box below the Forum description.
  • In the Forum introduction box, you can add more detailed information, such as student instructions and grading criteria. Since there is a full-text editor, you can add multimedia here, as well.

Screenshot of the ForumNG Settings Box showing the description and introduction boxes filled in with descriptive text.

  • Select your choice for “Email subscription.” There are four options here:
    • Everyone can choose to be subscribed: students/moderators can decide if they would like to be subscribed to the forum.
    • Force everyone to be subscribed: all participants are subscribed automatically and cannot unsubscribe.
    • Everyone is subscribed initially: all participants are subscribed initially, but they can unsubscribe if they wish
    • Subscription is not permitted: no one can subscribe.
  • Next, you can select a maximum attachment size. The default setting for this is 500 MB (the maximum size allowed).
  • You can choose to add an email address for reporting inappropriate posts in the next box.
  • You can choose for the moderator to make anonymous posts if you’d like. If you do not select an option allowing moderators to post anonymously, there will not be an option for this in the forum itself.

Screenshot of ForumNG settings, including the forum introduction with descriptive text and an image, an email address for reporting offensive posts, and enable anonymous moderator posts selected as "post as normal."

  • Tagging: If you’d like to add discussion keywords as tags, you can enable discussion tagging here.
  • Ratings: Select this option if you would like students to rate posts. Choose between the “no ratings” and “ratings (standard)” options.
    • If you decide to use ratings, you can select between the “point” and “scale” options. The point option allows you to choose a maximum numerical value to use in your rating options. The scale option allows you to choose from a variety of predefined scales, such as BTEC and Pass/Fail.
    • You can enable a range of dates to allow the rating of posts. If you choose this option, forum participants will not be able to rate posts outside of this date range. In addition, you can set the number of required ratings for participants to complete. The default value for this option is 1.
  • Grade: If you choose to grade posts, select the appropriate option from the list. You can select for the teacher to grade student posts, as well as a variety of options that work in conjunction with the “ratings” selection.
    • If you select “teacher grades students,” select either “point” or “scale” grading and enter the maximum grade.
  • Limit posts: Use this option if you would like to select a range of dates where participants can post to the forum. You can also set a maximum number of daily posts if desired.
  • Manage old discussions: Here, you can choose to have old discussions removed from the forum after a set period. The default value for this section is to “never remove” posts.
  • Common module settings: This section gives a variety of options for using the forum tool in your course. You can:
    • Show or hide the module on your course page
    • Add an ID number for grading
    • Select mandatory language options
    • Include in course content download if you’d like to have discussion posts available for download to your device
  • Group mode: Here, you can select groups if you have multiple course sections using the same Moodle course.
  • Restrict access: In this section, you can add criteria for completion of other course activities before students have access to the forum.
  • Activity completion: Here, you can select options that require students to view the forum or view and post in order to mark the activity as complete.
    • Students can manually mark the activity as completed: if you select this option, there are no requirements for student posts, and students can mark the activity as complete at any point they wish.
    • Do not indicate activity completion: Students do not need to make any selection or perform any action to mark the activity complete.
    • Show activity as complete when conditions are met: Select your conditions; when these conditions are met, the activity will automatically be marked complete. You can choose a variety of options as conditions for completion.
    • Require view: Students must view the activity to complete it.
    • Require grade: Students must receive a grade to complete this activity. Additionally, "students must receive a passing grade to complete this activity" can be selected if a passing grade has been set.
    • Require posts: Here, you can set the number of posts students must complete. This number can be any combination of discussions or replies.
    • Require discussions: Discussions are considered new forum threads and will appear on the main forum screen. You can select the number of desired new discussions here.
    • Require replies: Replies are posts added to discussions. You can select the number of desired new replies here.
    • Require word count: You can set a minimum and maximum word count here if you require this option.
    • Expect completed on: You can enable this option and select a due date for this activity.

Screenshot of the Activity completion screen in Moodle with different options checked based on the course owner's preferences.

  • Tags: Here, you can add keywords to the forum if you choose.
  • Competencies: Here, you can add predefined course competencies to your forum.
  • Once you have selected your desired settings, click “Save and display.”

Screenshot of saved Forum information displayed in Moodle.

Using ForumNG

  • Click “Start a new discussion.”
    • The new discussion will be displayed on the main forum page. Create a subject for the discussion and add text and multimedia in the message box. You can also add attachments.
    • Instructors can post as a standard post or as a moderator.
    • You can select a range of dates for the discussion post to be displayed.
    • Under “Discussion options,” you can choose to have the discussion “pinned” to the top of the list. If you do not select this option, the discussion post will be sorted normally.
    • Click “post discussion.”

Screenshot of posted forum discussion with "hello" as the text.

  • To reply to a discussion, select the discussion from the main menu and click “reply” in the discussion box. Follow the directions described above to create a reply. Click “post reply.”

Screenshot of the forum discussion screen with text in the reply field.

Grading ForumNG Posts

  • Grading can be completed in two different areas. In the first option, grades can be completed directly through the ForumNG page. Keep in mind that you cannot grade individual posts, but you must grade all the posts a single user made within that forum as a whole.
    • From the main forum page, click “Participation by user.”
    • A list of students will appear, along with the number of discussions and replies they created. If you’d like to read the posts, select “Show all posts by (Student  Name).”
    • Using the scale or point system you set up when you created the forum, you can select a grade from the drop-down list.
    • No feedback can be given from this screen.

Screenshot of the ForumNG User participation screen with user names displayed

  • To provide written feedback, you must go to the Grading area of your Moodle Course.
    • From your course home page, select “Grades.”
    • From the “Grades” screen, go to the dropdown menu on the upper left part of the screen (it should say “Grader report”). Select “Single view.”
    • Select the “Grade items” button on the right side of the window. Select the Forum name from the drop-down list.

Screenshot of a single view "select a grade item" menu with "My New Forum" selected

  • A new screen will show a list of participants and their grades (if completed). If you would like to give feedback for one student at a time, tick the “Override” box to the right of the student’s name. Here, you can add feedback in the “Feedback” text box
    • Additionally, you can select “Override all” from the Actions drop-down list at the top of the screen and add feedback for multiple students.

Screenshot of the grading screen for "My New Forum" with the Actions menu displayed and "Override all" selected

  • Tip: Have two separate Moodle windows open side-by-side on your computer. On one screen, have the ForumNG posts visible by student. On the other screen, have the Grade screen open with Feedback enabled so you don’t have to toggle back and forth between screens.

Screenshot of ForumNG window and grading window open concurrently

  • Click “save” when you are done adding feedback. De-select “Override” from beside the feedback box or from the Actions drop-down list.
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Article ID: 147097
Thu 8/31/23 10:07 AM
Thu 9/14/23 11:23 AM
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