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Using Anonymous Forum (students)

Using Anonymous Forum (students)


The Anonymous 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 Anonymous Forum is also a communication tool. In contrast to the Forum, the Anonymous 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 Anonymous Forum is a suitable didactic tool to motivate all students to actively exchange opinions anonymously. The Anonymous Forum with its specific advantages is, therefore, a useful and equivalent supplement to the regular Forum.

Please also note our social conventions when using the Anonymous Forum (Netiquette).


Table of contents

1. Create forum post
1.1. Private replies
1.2. Disclose identity
1.3. Advanced editor and additional options
2. Edit topics and posts
3. Group addressing of posts
4. Manage forum subscriptions
5. Pin topics
6. Mark topics and posts
7. Social conventions when using the Anonymous Forum (Netiquette)

1. Create forum post

Students have two options for writing a post:

  • as the starting post of a new discussion topic via "Add a new discussion":
    Button "Add a new discussion"
  • In response to another post:

    Screenshot post with option to reply

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 discussion or reply.

1.1. Private replies

Your course manager has the possibility to write private replies to students via the Anonymous Forum, which only the author of the original post can see. If such a private reply is addressed to you, you can recognize this by the fact that the sender's name is preceded by Private reply by ... is prepended to the sender's name. You do not have the possibility to write private replies to forum posts.

Screenshot port with private reply

1.2. Disclose identity

If your course manager has set the Anonymous Forum so that the posts are anonymous, you have the possibility to decide whether you want to reveal your identity. In this case your name will be displayed next to your post.
Non-anonymous posts in an anonymous forum will be marked "non-anonymously" Label "non anonymously" for you as the author. You cannot anonymize your post later. If you wish to do so, we recommend that you delete your post immediately (see section 2. Editing topics and posts) and then create a new one.

Screenshot post with option to reveal identity



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 of own post

View for other users:

Screenshot view of the post for other forum users

1.3. 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.

Screenshot advanced editor

By clicking on "Submit" Button "Submit" or in the advanced editor on "Publish to forum" Button "Post to forum" your post will be created and then displayed to the forum participants with the note "New" Label "New".

2. Edit topics and posts

After you have posted a topic or a reply in the Anonymous Forum, you have 5 minutes to edit your post, i.e. to "Edit" or to "Delete" it. After these 5 minutes have expired, you only have the possibility to have your post edited and, if necessary, removed via your course manager.

Screenshot view of own post with options for editing

Forum posts edited by course managers are always marked with a corresponding note in the system:

Screenshot editing reference

3. Group addressing of posts
If your course manager has activated a group mode for the Anonymous Forum, the exchange between students will be restricted. You can recognize an activated group mode by the fact that a drop-down list is displayed above the first forum post, in which your group membership is preset by default.

Screenshot dropdown list for group choice

If you are not assigned to a group, a note to this effect will appear:

Screenshot note on missing group membership

In group mode, you can only reply to posts from members of your own group. Depending on the configuration you have made, you may also be allowed to view the posts of other groups without being able to reply to them. If the course manager has enabled this option, you can use the drop-down list under "Other groups" to view the posts of the other groups. Selecting "All participants" will take you to the posts that are addressed to all students and therefore have no group addressing.

Screenshot dropdown list for group choice

Note that only your manager can create posts without group addressing and you cannot reply to them. A corresponding note will also appear:

Screenshot Note on the missing group membership

Every forum post that is assigned to a group will have the exact group designation below the author 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

4. Manage forum subscriptions
Students have two options to subscribe or unsubscribe to forums:

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

You can make the settings here if you no longer want to subscribe to a forum.

If the course manager has enabled you to subscribe to a forum according to your personal preferences via the forum settings, you can subscribe or unsubscribe to the corresponding forum in the column "Subscribed" at any time by clicking on "Yes" Button "Yes" or "No" Button "No". A so-called mandatory subscription, on the other hand, cannot be unsubscribed. You can recognize this by the fact that it is unchangeably set to "Yes". If the column "Subscribed" is empty (-), your course manager(s) has preset that the forum cannot be subscribed to at all.

Screenshot overview of Open Forums in the course room


5. Pin topics
Course managers have the ability to "pin" specific topics that they feel are important in the Anonymous Forum. Pinned topics then appear at the top of the list of all created topics and are easily recognizable for you as a student by the pin iconPin icon.

6. Mark topics and posts
In addition to the possibility of "pinning" certain topics and thus making them clearly visible to all forum participants, course managers can also mark topics and individual posts as "valuable". You can recognize such topics and posts by a blue star iconSubstantive icon.

7. Social conventions when using the Anonymous Forum (Netiquette)

In order to ensure a pleasant and friendly coexistence, we ask for the observance of certain rules:

  • Objective, matter-of-fact- style: We attach particular importance to an objective style and a polite and respectful tone.
  • No insults: Name-calling and insults as well as personal attacks are unnecessary and will be removed.
  • No inappropriate posts: We delete posts that are discriminatory, anti-constitutional, demagogic, illegal, pornographic, extremist, racist, vulgar, disparaging or otherwise inappropriate without justification.
  • Neutrality: RWTH Aachen University is ideologically neutral and does not offer a platform for the dissemination of political or religious messages.
  • No advertising, no spam: Spam, advertising and other commercial content and offers from third parties are also not desired.
  • No third party discussions: If someone wants to use the forum to have their own discussions, we will not tolerate it. Comments should refer to the commented post.
  • Data protection: For data protection reasons and to protect privacy, we delete confidential content such as addresses, telephone numbers, registration numbers, etc.
  • Liability: We do not assume any responsibility or liability for comments and links posted by users.


For more information:

last changed on 11/03/2022

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