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Moderate Discussions

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on moderating discussions.

You can employ both the art and science of moderating discussions to maintain discussion activity throughout the term. Without vigilance on the your part, even discussions starting out with ample excitement can dwindle as the term progresses.

The art of moderating involves finding the right balance between guiding the conversation and standing back to allow students to discover new ideas.

The science of moderating involves using the discussion board functions to keep students focused on relevant discussions and to determine a student’s level of access.

About Forum Roles

You can assign forum roles to limit access to a forum or to help with forum administration. For example, to help control the discussion board content that is presented to your students, you can assign a responsible user the role of moderator.

In a forum, each user has a forum role and can have only one role per forum. By default, instructors have the role of manager and students have the role of participant. When you are logged in as an instructor, you cannot change your own forum role.

Your institution determines which course roles are available.

The following table describes the forum roles and their permissions.

Forum Roles and Permissions
Role Permissions
Manager Managers have full control over a forum and can change forum settings, moderate posts, and assign roles and grades.

Users with a course role of instructor or teaching assistant are granted this role by default.

Builder Course builders can edit, copy, and delete forums, but not grade or manage forums. Inside a forum, a course builder can perform the same actions on posts as an instructor, with the exception of grading threads.

Course builders can also create new threads in a forum, and can enable grading for a thread and type a value.

Users with a course role of course builder are granted this forum role by default.

Moderator Moderators can delete, edit, and lock all posts in any forum, even if the forum does not use the moderation queue.

If you use a moderation queue, the moderator approves or rejects posts in the queue before they are made available to all users.

Users with a course role of instructor or course builder are granted this forum role by default.

Grader Graders can read, reply to, and grade posts. The grader role has some access to the Grade Center, but cannot assign grades to their own work.

Users with a course role of grader are granted this forum role by default.

Participant Participants can read and reply to posts.

Users with a course role of student are granted this role by default.

Reader Readers can read the contents of a forum, but cannot post responses or add threads.
Blocked (Block user from forum Blocked users cannot access the forum.

How to Assign Forum Roles

  1. Access a forum's contextual menu and click Manage.
  2. On the Manage Forum Users page, a list of users appears. Access a user's contextual menu.

    If you want to show only one role at a time, make a selection in the Display Forum Role drop-down list on the action bar and click Go.

  3. Select a new forum role. The new role appears in the Forum Role column for the user.
  4. Click OK to return to the discussion board. Alternatively, click the forum title on the orientation bar to return to the forum.

    To change multiple roles at one time, select the users' check boxes and point to Edit Role on the action bar. Select the check box in the header row to select all users.

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About Moderating

As an online instructor, your role is to facilitate the conversation and exchange of ideas on the discussion board. You need to ensure that students feel comfortable to share, while also monitoring responses and keeping everyone focused and on track. At the same time, you want to be careful not to dominate or impede the flow of the discussion.

Occasionally, students may introduce inappropriate material for the class discussion. Depending on the maturity and sensitivity of the students in your course, you may need to review student posts for inappropriate content before sharing posts with the rest of the class.

In a discussion forum, you can assign a user the role of moderator. A moderator reviews posts before they are added to a thread and appear in the discussion board.

When you create a moderated forum, all posts to the forum are added to a moderation queue. A moderator reviews each post and performs one of the following actions:

  • Publishes the post.
  • Returns the post to the sender without a message.
  • Returns the post to the sender with a message.

A moderator can delete, edit, and lock posts in a forum even if the forum does not use the moderation queue.

You can choose to moderate a forum when creating it or by editing an existing forum. Only posts added after enabling forum moderation are available for review in the moderation queue.

If you do not assign a moderator, the manager must take responsibility for approving posts in a moderated forum.

How to Allow Moderation of Posts

  1. Access a forum's contextual menu and click Edit.
  2. On the Edit Forum page, select the Force Moderation of Posts check box and click Submit.

    When choosing a moderated forum, do not allow students to edit or delete posts. This ensures that the post approved is the one viewed by users.

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  3. After posts are submitted, access the forum. In the moderator view, no posts appear because the messages are waiting approval. On the action bar, click Moderate Forum.

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    The Moderate Forum function appears only to those users who have a forum role of manager or moderator. In the student view, the author can see the post in Tree View with a reminder it is in the moderation queue.

  4. On the Moderation Queue page, the posts appear in alphabetical order by title. Click the column title to sort by post title, author, or date. To review a post, click Moderate.


  5. On the Moderate Post page, read the post and click Publish or Return. Published messages are immediately posted to the thread.
  6. Optionally, type feedback in the text box. Though feedback is optional, this is an opportunity to provide guidance, ask questions, redirect a student's focus, and explain why a post was returned.
  7. Click Submit.

Returned posts no longer appear in the moderation queue. In tree view, students see their returned posts in the forum. Expand the post using the plus sign. If feedback was included, students can see why their posts were returned. On the thread page, returned posts display Returned next to the post's title.

From the thread page, students can edit their posts while viewing the moderator's feedback and resubmit them. The posts are returned to the moderation queue. Moderation Queue appears next to the post's title.

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