Discussion forums are useful in many ways, for example for peer/teacher discussion around a clinical case. However, making sure your forum remains confidential for particular staff involved, along with students (or a particular student group) is important.
To adjust the permissions regarding who is allowed to view the discussions.
1. Click on the forum that you have made.
2. Under the ‘Administration’ block (to the left of the page) you will see ‘Forum administration’. Under this heading, click on ‘Permissions’.
3. Scroll down and under the heading ‘Activity: Forum’ find ‘View discussions’.
4. You will see all the roles that can view the discussion board that you have just created. This list is the Moodle default list for viewing Forums.
5. Delete all the roles that you don’t want to view the forum using the ‘x’ button and add any roles with ‘+’ button. To make it private between students and staff, delete all the roles except the roles of ‘Editor’ (the steps above for selected staff), ‘Convenor’ (anyone who is a Convenor for that module) and ‘Local student’ (the students involved in the forum for that module).
Organising the permissions in this way allows only the roles selected to view the forum. As the people you have chosen to view the forum have been given the additional role of ‘Editor’ they can access the forum, along with whoever has the role of ‘Convenor’. If you want the ‘Administrator’ to view the forums, then just add the role of ‘Administrator’.
It is important remove the ‘Staff’ role. This is because all staff enrolled in Moodle are enrolled as ‘Staff’ by default. With this default ‘Staff’ role, you can view most pages on Moodle, which includes all pages made ‘visible’ to ELM and ALM. This means that if someone with the ‘Staff’ role member accidentally clicks on a forum on any page, they will not be able to access the discussions. This is why the role of ‘Editor’ is assigned to the particular staff member(s). It blocks unwanted ‘Staff’ from accidentally clicking on the forum and possibly viewing confidential material, while allowing selected staff to view the discussions.
If you want help setting up forums, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in contact with someone to guide you through the process or ask additional questions.
Full instructions with screenshots can be found at Setting-up forums to maintain confidentiality