Forum Types and Access Rights


The Discussion & PM tool supports three forum types: Normal, Reply only, and Read only (equivalent to locked).

When adding OR editing a forum, instructors can specify a forum type:

Forum Types

  • Normal (default) – all site participants can post and reply in normal forums.
  • Reply-Only – members of this forum type can only reply to posts. They cannot post new topics. This is ideal in forums where lead facilitators initiate formal discussion prompts.
  • Read-Only (locked) – members of this forum type can read but not post topics and messages. This is ideal when a discussion has ended and the instructor wishes to lock further postings. Additionally, this forum type may be used for setting up a forum where instructors and Teaching Assistants post information and resources for students for viewing / reading only.

Additionally, instructors may set access privileges for forums:

Access Privileges

The default access setting for new forums is “All Site Participants,” meaning that all registered students and guests will have access to forums with this permission.

If instructors set a forum to “Deny Access,” it will not be visible to students. This feature allows instructors to hide forums from the students’ view / list while they are still preparing them. Additionally, it allows instructors to archive forums and/or hide them from the students’ view for one reason or another.

Allow Access to Selected Groups enables instructors to assign one or more sections (rosters) or one or more groups of students to a forum.  If you select “Allow Access to Selected Groups,” you may also give ‘read-only’ access to the group forum to the rest of the class, immediately or after the due date. This way, other students can view (but not reply to) what other groups are doing, see how other groups are working together, and learn from others’ research and processes.

read-only group access

Users can recognize the different forum types in the Discussion Home by their unique icons. The following legend is included at the bottom of the Discussion Home page:

  • The quick reply, post reply, and quote with reply buttons are not available in locked (read-only) forums for students. Instructors, however, have the ability to post/reply in locked forums.
  • Read-Only and locked forums behave the same way. Instructors can edit and post topics, etc.
  • Forums that are set to be hidden until a certain date are not visible to students but they are visible to instructors.
  • Topics from “Deny Access” OR “invisible” forums are not be listed in gradebook


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