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Using Open Forum (managers)

Using Open Forum (managers)


The Open Forum activity allows faculty and students to post and respond to questions, opinions, comments, and suggestions on self-determined topics. This is intended to promote dialogue and exchange between teachers and students.

Just like the "Forum" activity, the "Open Forum" is also a communication tool. In contrast to the "Forum", the "Open Forum" offers the decisive advantage that anonymous forum posts can also be written here. Since, especially in larger courses, the inhibition threshold among students to possibly ask "stupid" questions and thus receive a certain label can be quite high, the "Open Forum" is a suitable didactic tool to motivate all students to actively exchange opinions anonymously. The "Open Forum" with its specific advantages is, therefore, a useful and equivalent supplement to the regular "Forum".



1. Create forum post
2. Edit topics and posts
3. Manage forum subscriptions
4. Pin topics
5. Mark topics and posts and subscribe to individual topics

1. Create forum post

Managers and students have two options for writing a paper:

  • as the starting post of a new discussion topic (add a new discussion):
    Button "Add a new discussion"
  • in response to another post:

    Screenshot post with answer option

Both when starting a new topic and when replying to an existing post, a text entry field will subsequently appear directly on the page, allowing you to quickly create the topic or reply.

1.1. Private answers

If your post is a reply to an existing post and you have activated "Allow private replies" in the settings under post options, you can write a private message in the Open Forum, which only the author of the original post will see. The personal addressing is also done in case "Allow anonymous posts" is activated under the post options and therefore the author's name is not shown to you. Unlike managers, students do not have the ability to post private replies to forum posts.

1.2. Disclose identity

In the Open Forum settings, the post options "Allow anonymous posts" is enabled by default and cannot be changed. This allows you to post anonymously by default, but you can "reveal your identity" by selecting the appropriate option. Then forum participants will see your name next to your post.

Screenshot answer field with options for private reply and for revealing identity in this post


Even if you do not wish to reveal your identity and remain anonymous, your name will still be displayed next to your post so that you can see which posts were made by you. For all other forum users, however, your name will not be visible and the author will instead be identified as "User, Anonymous".

Your own view:

Screenshot view own post

View for other users:

Screenshot Viewing the post for other forum users

1.3. Group addressing

If you want to create a new topic and you have set the "Group Mode" to "Visible Groups" or "Separate Groups", you can use the "Group" dropdown list to select to which group your topic should be addressed. By selecting the "All participants" option, you address the post to all students regardless of group affiliation.

Screenshot group selection

Posts with group addressing are marked with the exact group name below the author's name. If this designation is missing (see screenshot above), there is no group addressing and the post is addressed to all students.

Screenshot view of the post with group addressing


If you send posts without group addressing ("All participants") when the group modes "Visible groups" or "Separate groups" are activated, all students can see these posts but cannot reply to them, since replying is limited to posts within one's own group. The "Forum" activity, on the other hand, offers the possibility of replying to posts within one's own group as well as to posts without group addressing. This activity is generally preferable when using the group modes, unless you want to use anonymous posts. Otherwise, it is also possible to add a second Open Forum to the learning room and configure it with the group mode "No groups".


1.4. Advanced editor and additional options

If you want to write a detailed answer and need the toolbar (editor) for this, click on "Use advanced editor and additional options". Here you have, among other things, the option to extensively format your text input or to insert audio and video files.

In addition, you can select here whether those participants who have subscribed to the forum should be sent "e-mail notifications without delay" after you have published your topic or answer in the forum. If this option remains unchecked, the email notification will not be sent 5 minutes after the forum post is created (default setting). Note: In case of occasional high server load, it is possible that the e-mail dispatch is triggered only after a delay of several minutes.

If you want to create a topic that should be created individually for each group despite having the same content, click "Copy for all groups". All groups assigned to the Open Forum will then be assigned the same topic and can edit and discuss it separately.

Screenshot advanced editor

By clicking on "Submit" Button "Submit" or in the extended editor on "Post in the forum". Button "Post to forum" your post will be created and then shared with the forum participants with the indication "New" Label "New".


2. your post will be created and then shared with the forum participants with the indication "New".

2.1. Edit and delete posts

As a manager you have the possibility to edit, i.e. edit, delete or share your own posts and the posts created by the other forum participants at any time without any time restriction.

Screenshot post with options for reply, edit, delete and split
Edited forum posts are always marked with a corresponding note by the system: Screenshot editing reference

2.1. Share forum topic

"Sharing" is not to be understood as spreading a topic via digital channels, but as "dividing" it into two. It can happen that threads, i.e. the sequence of posts on a topic, become very long and that the number of reply posts becomes unmanageably large. In this case, managers can "break off" the discussion in a suitable reply post and start a new thread with this reply post as the starting post.

Screenshot option for spliting the discussion

3. Manage forum subscriptions

3.1. Add or remove subscription

Managers and students have two options to subscribe or unsubscribe to forums:

  • via the "Open Forums" entry on the left in the navigation bar in the Activities section
    Screenshot "Open Forums" from navigation bar, section "Activities"
  • if you have an Open Forum open at the bottom of the overview page via "Manage forum subscriptions":
    Link "Manage forum subscriptions"

You can make the settings here if you no longer wish to be subscribed to a forum.

If you have selected "Optional subscription", "Automatic subscription" or "Subscription deactivated" in the forum settings, you can deactivate the corresponding forum in the "Subscribed" column by clicking on "Yes"  Button "Yes" or "No" Button "No" and subscribe or unsubscribe at any time (see screenshot below). However, you cannot unsubscribe from a "Mandatory subscription", which is why it is set to "Yes".


The possibility to subscribe to an Open Forum despite the setting "Subscription disabled" is reserved for managers. Students do not have this option.

Screenshot overview of Open Forums in the course room

3.2. Change subscription type

If you want to change the type of subscriptions afterwards, e.g. if you want to give students an optional subscription and the setting was previously set to "Subscription disabled", click on the blue cogwheel Gear icon in the corresponding Open Forum in the top right corner within the white area. In the overview that now opens, switch to the "Type of subscription" tab and select the subscription you want. Your selection will be taken over by a single mouse click and saved automatically.

Screenshot selection subscription mode

4. Pin topics

Managers can pin their own topics and topics created by other participants. Pinned topics then appear at the top of the list of all created topics and are clearly visible to all participants by means of a pin iconPin icon.
Wenn Sie zu einem Thema einen Pin setzen möchten, öffnen Sie das entsprechende Thema und klicken Sie unterhalb des ersten Beitrags in einem Thread auf "Pin" Button "Pin". Der Beitrag erscheint dann in der Themenliste des Forums an der chronologisch richtigen Stelle: Wenn es der erste Pin ist, den Sie im Forum setzen, erscheint der Beitrag an erster Stelle. Sind bereits für anderen Themen Pins gesetzt worden, erscheint das Thema unter dem zuletzt gepinnten Thema. Sie können das Thema zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt erneut bearbeiten und den Pin mit Klick auf "Pin entfernen" Button "Unpin" wieder entfernen.

If you want to pin a topic, open the corresponding topic and click "Pin" Button "Pin" below the first post in a thread . The post will then appear in the forum topic list in the chronologically correct position: If it is the first pin you set in the forum, the post will appear first. If pins have already been set for other topics, the topic will appear below the last pinned topic. You can edit the topic again at a later time and remove the pin by clicking "Unpin" Button "Unpin".

Screenshot Post with option to pin

5. Mark topics and posts and subscribe to individual topics

5.1. Bookmark and valuable marker

In addition to the possibility of "pinning" certain topic threads and thus making them clearly visible to all forum participants, you can personally bookmark Bookmark icon certain topics or individual posts or mark them as Valuable Substantive icon(see also the screenshot above). In contrast to pins Pin icon set by you as a manager on selected topics, these markings are only visible to you, but not to the students.

5.2. Einzelne Themen abonnieren

You can also subscribe Subscribe icon to individual topic threads by mouse click , if you have not already subscribed to the entire forum.


The icon for subscribing to individual topic threads appears only when the "Optional subscription" and "Auto subscription" subscriptions are selected and if they are set to "No" under "Subscribed" at the same time.

Students generally do not have the ability to subscribe to individual topics, bookmark topics, or mark posts as valuable.


For more information:


last changed on 11/19/2021

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