How do I set up and manage online discussion forums in OWL?

Setting up Online Discussion Forums in OWL

Asynchronous online discussion forums can be a great learning tool to engage with your students and promote peer-to-peer interaction. Online discussions can be used for a variety of purposes in your online classroom, including to build community, test student knowledge and allow for thoughtful reflection.

The forums tool in OWL allows instructors to set up asynchronous online discussion forums to promote communication and collaboration between students and instructors.

1. Add the Forums tool to your OWL site (Site Info -> Manage Tools -> Forums)

2. Click on the Forums tool

2. Select "New Forum"

4. Add a title and optional description

5. Customize your forum settings using the options described below

a. Forum Posting: Lock or moderate forums for posting, can also require students to create a discussion post prior to reading the forums (create a prerequisite).

b. Grading: If you choose to have graded discussion forums, you must create an item in the Gradebook and link your forum to this item. See this article for instructions.

c. Permissions: For each forum participant, you can select their permission level using the drop-down menu.

d. Customize: Permissions can be customized by opening the “customize” drop down menu.

When you add a new topic to your discussion forum (Forums -> New Topic), OWL gives instructors the option of having anonymous or identified authors in discussion forums. Having anonymous authors may increase student comfort level with posting online, and instructors have the option of being able to identify the anonymous authors for grading purposes.

Not sure if anonymous forums are appropriate for your course? This article may provide some insight.

The following resources may help you with facilitation and management of your online discussion forums:

Resources and References

Contact North: How to plan for and moderate online discussions

Western’s eLearning toolkit:

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