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An Overview of Communication Tools in Moodle

Moodle provides many communications tools.  This overview will help you learn about the strengths and limitations of each tool and when you might choose to use it.

The News Forum

The News Forum is a unique forum that acts as an announcements tool for your Moodle course. It appears by default in the top section of your course homepage and is related to the Latest News block. By default, only instructors and TAs can post to the News Forum

For more, see Use the Moodle News Forum for Announcements.

Email

The Quickmail block, added by default to new Moodle courses, allows instructors and TAs (and students, if the instructor allows) to send emails to course members from Moodle. Instructors who use Moodle may find Quickmail a convenient alternative to setting up a Class Email List in SPIRE.

Moodle will also send notification emails to inform users of particular activities such as a new post on the News forum.

Instructors who don't use Quickmail can send emails to course members through the Participants screen, accessed via the Settings block.

For more, see Email in Moodle.

Moodle Profile Settings

Every Moodle user has the ability to control how they receive email notifications from Moodle. Your Moodle profile settings control your default email digest and forum subscription settings, as well as whether or not your email address is visible to other users (who may still be able to send you email from the course, but without seeing your email address). 

For more information about customizing your profile preferences, refer to Edit Your Moodle Profile & Personal Settings.

Discussion Forums

Instructors and students can communicate and collaborate on Moodle using Forums, sometimes called "discussions."   Instructors can create topics or, depending on the forum type, allow students to create topics to which course members can post a reply. 

For descriptions of the various types of forums and instructions on how to set one up in your course, see Setting Up Forums in Moodle

To use a participation report to see if students have viewed forums and how many times they have posted, see Use Reports to Track Student Activity in Moodle.

Note: Forums can be set to allow (or force) ccourse members to receive email copies of new posts (called subscribing). See Manage Email Notifications in Moodle for Instructors or for Students.

The Upcoming Events Block & Calendar Block

The Upcoming Events and Calendar blocks help you and your students to keep track of due dates and other important events in your course.  When you add an activity with a due date to a Moodle course, the due date it is automatically added to the course calendar.  The Upcoming Events blocks lists events approaching on the calendar.

For more, see The Upcoming Events and Calendar Blocks in Moodle.

Use Checklist Activities to Help Students Track Required Work

The Moodle Checklist module allows teachers to create a "to do" list for students to work through and provides an easy visual representation of what has been accomplished so far. With a Checklist, teachers can monitor progress as students complete items on the list, and students can see a progress bar showing the percentage of the items they have completed.

For more, see Add a Checklist Activity in Moodle.

Group Communication & Collaboration Spaces

While instructors can easily use activities in Moodle to deliver content and assess learning, Moodle also supports student-led activities and collaboration. In addition to forums, you can make use of the group, wiki, and chat features of Moodle to facilitate collaboration. 

For more information and suggestions for effective use of these features, see Group Communication & Collaboration Spaces in Moodle.