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Forums are a great way to engage students in course material outside of class time.  Depending on the size of your class, you may want to divide the class into groups for more focused discussions among just a few members.

1. In the Settings block, go to Course administration > Users > Groups.

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2. Groups can be created by the instructor manually or they can be automatically created according to specified criteria of number of groups or group size.  Decide which method you prefer and click the corresponding button. For auto-created groups, skip to Step 3.

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a.  For manually created Groups, enter a name for the first group and click Save changes at the bottom of the page. Repeat this step for as many groups as you wish to create.

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b. Next, add members to the groups.  Select a group under the Groups column and click Add/remove users under the Members of column.

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c. Select participants from the Potential members column and click Add.  Click Back to groups at the bottom of the page. Repeat this step for each group and proceed to Step 4.

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3. For auto-created groups, you must specify the following:

  • Naming scheme — @ will be replaced by letters. # will be replaced by numbers.  In the example below, this will create groups of 3 named Group A, Group B, etc.
  • Auto create based on — Decide if you want Moodle to auto create based on a specified number of groups, or to generate groups based on a specified number of members per group.
  • Group/member count — This number corresponds to the selection you made in the “Auto create based on” field.
  • Select members with role — Who should be included in the groups? Typically, you’ll select Student.  Professors are included in all groups by default.

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Note: If you end up with one group that is too small, under the Group members section, fill in the checkbox for Prevent last small group.

When you’re satisfied with the group results, click Submit.

4. Once your Groups are set up, you can create discussion Forums that are divided into Groups.  See the Add a Forum tutorial for instructions on setting up a Forum.

5. In the Forum editing page, scroll to the bottom to the section labeled Common module settings. From the drop-down menu for Group mode, select from the following options:

  • No groups (Default) — A forum that is not divided into groups
  • Separate groups — Each group will have its own forum discussion.  Members can only see and participate in discussions with the other members of their group.
  • Visible groups — Each group will have its own forum discussion.  Members can view discussions in other groups, but can only participate in discussion within their group.

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6. The field Visible allows you to hide the Forum until you are ready for discussion to begin.

7. The ID number field is used for identifying the assignment in the Gradebook.  If you do not grade forum participation using Moodle, this can be left blank.

8. When finished, click Save and return to course.