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4 How do forums work?

Forums are online spaces where you can chat to your fellow students, ask questions and get information from your tutor. They can also be used for more formal group discussions and activities.

Watch this video explaining the forums page on your module website.

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There are three main forum types you are likely to encounter:

Tutor group forum

The tutor group forum is just for you and the rest of your tutor group.

How the forum is used will depend on the individual module. On some modules it will be used for discussion of module content and activities. Your tutor will usually start any formal discussions or activities.

Your tutor may also use this forum to share information with you, such as tutorial notes.

Module-wide forum

The module-wide forum is available to everyone registered on the module, and all OU staff with a connection to the module.

It usually opens before the tutor group forum and is a good place to get early questions answered and get in touch with other students. The forum is looked after by tutors or a member of the module team.

Qualification/Subject forums

On your Study website you’ll also find a forum space that all students studying, or interested in studying your qualification or subject area can post in. Bear in mind that anything you post here can be read by a lot of people, but they are a good place to speak to other students and discuss topics outside of your module content.

These forums are open all year round. As part of your subject induction, which you’ll be directed to at the end of this course, you’ll be shown to your Study website where you’ll find this forum space and can start talking to other students and ask questions.

The next activity gives you a chance to learn a bit more about how to use forums.

Activity 3 How to use a forum

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Go to the How to use a forum [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] section of the Computing Guide.

There’s a lot of information in this section of the Computing Guide, so for now focus on the following to familiarise yourself with how OU forums work:

  • Join a discussion
  • Create a discussion
  • Reply to a post
  • Edit posts
  • Delete post or discussion

Now complete the following short quiz on forums.

How long after posting in a forum are you able to edit your post?

a. 

24 hours


b. 

5 minutes


c. 

30 minutes


d. 

You can edit at anytime.


The correct answer is c.

Which of the following statements about archived forum threads are correct?

a. 

Once archived students can read the discussion but cannot add to it.


b. 

Once archived students can no longer access discussion.


c. 

Once archived students can carry on contributing to the discussion.


The correct answer is a.

Which of these are students able to do when contributing to a discussion?

a. 

Delete a post from another student they don’t like.


b. 

Include YouTube videos in the message.


c. 

Include images in the message.


d. 

Add documents to the message.


e. 

Start a new discussion thread.


f. 

Edit another student’s post.


The correct answers are b, c, d and e.

Are these statements true or false?

Taking part in all forums is compulsory.

a. 

False


b. 

True


The correct answer is a.

All forums in the module are purely optional and there are no penalties for taking part in any forum.

a. 

False


b. 

True


The correct answer is a.

Some modules award marks for sufficient forum participation.

a. 

True


b. 

False


The correct answer is a.

We want you to make the most of opportunities to work with other students, such as forums and tutorials. Whenever you work with others, however, it‘s always important to be mindful of your safety and that of those you’re working with. You’ll consider this briefly in the next section.