Forums are online message boards, where you, your classmates, and your instructor can post messages to each other at any time.

There are different types of forums that may be used in your course. Each one depends on the intended communication goal. Depending on how your instructor has set up the forum, you may be able to post a new discussion message, or you may only be able to reply to the message that the instructor posted.

In a university-level course, we encourage students to dialogue critically. You may wish to challenge points made by others in a forum posting; make sure that you provide evidence to support your argument(s). Just stating that you (dis)agree with a certain statement is not a contribution to the discussion. Instead, you might say “I (dis)agree because...”.

Please be advised that appropriate rules for classroom communication apply in online environments as well. Please see the Academic Calendar at (ugcal_79, Section 5.13.3.1) for acceptable student behavior.

Using Forums


  1. Login and select the course title
  2. Go to the Topic or Week section in which the forum exists, and click on the name of the Forum or click Forums in the Activities block and select the forum name.
  3. To read a posting, click on a discussion that someone else has posted.
  4. To reply to a discussion that someone else has posted, click “Reply” in the message
  5. To start a new discussion (if available in the forum), click the "Add a new discussion topic" button. This will start a new thread.


News and Announcements Forum


Some courses may not use forums at all, while other courses may use many forums. Most courses will have a News/Announcements forum. Only the instructor can post to this forum, and students cannot reply. By default every time a message is posted to this forum an email will be sent to your @uregina.ca email. If the Latest Announcements block is in the course, new posts to the News/Announcements forum will be highlighted there.

Note: Students are subscribed to the News/Announcements forum by default. This means that you will receive email notifications for new posts to your @uregina.ca email account but will not see unread posts marked within the forum itself.


Tracking Unread Messages


Each student has the option of turning the tracking on or off for a particular forum. When tracking is turned on, all unread posts are indicated with a checkmark next to the forum/discussion name in the forum page that lists all discussions. To access these new posts, click the number next to the checkmark, not the checkmark itself as this will mark all new postings in the forum as read even though they have not been read. All new postings in each forum have the poster and subject bar highlighted in a pale yellow. If you do not see this on new messages or you are not seeing any new posts in the unread posts column, please do the following.

  1. In the Administration block, click My Profile Settings<
  2. Click Edit profile
  3. Next to Forum tracking, click "Yes, highlight new posts for me"
  4. Click the Update profile button at the bottom of the page.

Once you have clicked on the message to read it, the number of new unread posts decreases when you go back to main forum page. If there are multiple unread replies on a thread, loading that page will consider all replies to be read, whether or not you have scrolled down to a particular new reply.

Note: You can turn tracking on and off by clicking Forums in the Activity block. Under the Tracking column you will see Yes and/or No beside each forum. To turn tracking on for a particular forum click the button next to the forum until the button says “Yes”; for “No” click until the button says No.


Subscribing or Unsubscribing to a Forum


Depending on how each forum is set up by the instructor, students may have the option of subscribing to all or individual forums with the exception of the News/Announcements Forum, where students are automatically subscribed for the duration of the course. This means that they will receive an email (@uregina.ca as listed in their profile) each time a posting is made to the forum. This is why it is crucial that students check their @uregina.ca email regularly. Once the email is received, students can reply to the message from the email or by replying in the course. Replies will appear as a posting in the forum. To Unsubscribe to email from a forum either click "Unsubscribe" in the email itself or, in the upper right corner of the forum, click "Unsubscribe from all forums."

Note: You can turn subscriptions on and off by clicking Forums in the Activity block. Under the Subscribed column you will see Yes and/or No beside each forum. To turn subscriptions on for a particular forum click the button next to the forum until the button says “Yes”; for “No” click until the button says No.

Note: If you are subscribe to a forum via email or receive a digest of forum activity, UR Courses will mark the forum postings listed in the email as read (even though you may not have actually read the email).


Changing how Forum Posts are Displayed


Users have the choice of how their forum posts are displayed (e.g. nested, flat). Click on a Forum and then a discussion name. The default is to have all reply posts in a discussion to be nested (indented further than the original post). This format indicates who is replying to whom and is probably the preferable format for most people. To change the view click the “Display replies in nested form” drop down list. Choose another view from the list: 1) Displays replies flat, with oldest first; 2) Displays replies flat, with newest first; and 3) Displays replies in nested form. Fool around with these other views to see which one you like the best.


Group Forums


Many courses may require students to use a forum to work in groups. There are 2 types of group forums: 1) separate groups and 2) visible groups:

Separate groups

Separate groups are private, meaning only members of a group can post new discussion topics and read each other's postings within the group; you will not have access to any other group. In order to post to this forum, you must:

  1. Click on the drop down menu beside "Separate Groups;" a list of groups will appear for which you are a member.
  2. To start a new discussion, click on your group from this drop-down list. Depending on what type of forum was selected by your instructor, a new button may appear in the middle of your page called "Add a New Discussion Topic." This will start a new discussion thread.
  3. To reply to an existing discussion click on another group member's discussion post and then click "reply."
Visible groups

Visible groups, on the other hand, are both private and public. This means that only group members can post a new discussion topic or reply to an existing topic within the group, but all class members can read postings of other groups. Students can see other groups' postings by clicking the Group name from the drop down list next to Visible Groups.

Note: You can turn subscriptions on and off by clicking Forums in the Activity block. Under the Subscribed column you will see Yes and/or No beside each forum. To turn subscriptions on for a particular forum click the button next to the forum until the button says “Yes”; for “No” click until the button says No.

If you try replying to a forum post but you don't see a reply button, you are likely not a part of the group it was posted to.