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Using Groups with Forums and Activities

Groups and Forums

When you are using groups, it is especially important to remember to post within that group. In the example below the course has one group called April 2012. For students to be able to see a ‘Reply’ option on a teacher’s post, the teacher must post within the group  rather than in the default All participants.

This tip is crucial for the Q and A Forum since the only way students can begin participation is by replying to a teacher’s initial post. April 2012 group members will only be able to reply to that post if the teacher has posted the initial question within their group. This must be done for each group that you want to have participate in the forum. Get ready to copy and paste V-..

groups and forums

This is explained at Moodle Docs at

Posting within each group is actually necessary for any of the forum types if you want students to be able to reply to your post.  This is not as crucial – or perhaps noticeable – in the other forums since students can participate in other forums without first replying to a teacher post.

Understanding Groups and Activities

The effects of using Groups can be quite dramatic in a course.

Different activity modules vary as to how they treat groups – some have better support for groups than others! In general if you have questions about how an activity supports groups, you’re advised to post in the forum for the activity module, and not the groups forum.

Here are three questions taken from Groups FAQ on that show how complex using Groups can become:

Q.  As a teacher I want to put the same post in each group’s forum with students able to reply to that post.
How can I do this?

A.   You need to post the same message into the forum for each group.
There is currently no way to do this in one go if you want students to be able to reply to your post.

Q.   What happens if I switch an activity from being in non-groups mode to being in groups mode?

A.   This depends on the activity module in question.
For forums, posts made before the forum is put into groups mode are visible to all students after you have put the forum into group mode.
However students cannot reply to these posts if they have no group (i.e. blank).

Q.   What happens if I change the groups for an activity in groups mode?
e.g. if I move a student from one group to another?

A.   Again this depends on the activity module.
You may find that grades or activity logs are lost, so check for the specific activity module first.

End-User Support for Moodle course instructors is available through our Moodle Reference Desk.


Sandra Orwig

[email protected]

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