Tuesday, 27 July 2021, 10:27 PM
Site: Flinders Learning Online
Topic: FLO Staff Support (FLO_Staff_Support)
Glossary: How-to glossary

Feedback - main entry

Whether you are starting from scratch or working with a feedback activity already created, using the feedback activity in a topic ideally consists of 5 stages, in a looped process."]

1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  |  5. Review  ||  Support 

Good practice guides and tip sheets

Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to assignment-related resources are provided below. 

Communication, interaction and collaboration tools in FLO

Feedback icon A feedback/survey/poll activity is an asynchronous way to measure how students are engaging with your topic materials. It might be useful to do this early on in the topic to check progress and identify any issues, which may allow you to make changes/adaptations that better meet student needs. A feedback activity mid-topic could help you determine how to scaffold activities that lead to topic completion and achievement of the learning outcomes. 

1. Plan

The feedback tool enables a teacher to create a custom survey for collecting feedback from participants using a variety of question types including multiple-choice, yes/no or text input. Feedback responses may be anonymous if desired, and results may be shown to all participants or restricted to teachers only.

Feedback activities may be used to:

  • provide formative feedback about student learning (for example the Touchpoint survey)
  • evaluate a topic, helping improve the content for later participants
  • enable participants to sign up for events, etc.

Example: Touchpoint survey

This short survey is designed as a ‘snapshot’ to provide formative feedback about student learning. You can use it once or more in your topic to see how students are going with their learning.

2. Build

You have planned your feedback. Now you are ready to set up your feedback. Below are instructions for creating a feedback activity and adding questions. Alternatively, you could ask your eLearning support team to add the Touchpoint survey to your topic, and alter the questions if you need to.

Create a feedback activity
  1. Turn editing on using the green button – this button is available top left of screen on the topic homepage
    Turn editing on button

  2. Go to the module where you would like the Feedback activity to appear
  3. Click the Add an activity or resource link at the bottom of the module
    Add an activity or resource link

  4. Select Feedback from Activities tab
    Feedback activity option

  5. Give the feedback a Name and Description(optional)
    Feedback activity add name

  6. Open the Availability section and set an opening and closing date
    There are two settings under availability - 'Allow answers from' and 'Allows answers to'
    Timeline block: The 'Allow answers from' date will show to students in the Timeline block.

  7. Under Question and submission settings, set the Record user names option to either Anonymous or User's name will be logged and shown with answers
    Feedback activity record user names

  8. Under After submission, set the Show analysis page to Yes if you want students to see a summary of responses, otherwise leave as No
    Feedback activity show analysis page

  9. Click Save and display
    Save and display button

Add questions to a feedback activity

  1. In the feedback activity, click Edit questions
    Edit questions tab

  2. Using the Select menu, choose the type of question to add
    Add question

    The types of questions are as follows:

    • Longer text answer
    • Multiple choice
    • Multiple choice (rated)
    • Numeric answer
    • Short text answer

    You can also add information and structural elements such as

    • Page break
    • Captcha
    • Label
    • Information
  3. Complete the required information and click Save question button

3. Test

Once you have set up the attendance, ask your local eLearning support team to check it for you (especially if this is the first time you have set up this activity).

4. Administer

These instructions include the use of the Touchpoint survey.

View the results of a feedback activity

  1. Click the feedback tool from the topic page 
    Feedback activity Touchpoint icon 
  2. To view an analysis of submitted responses, select the Analysis tab 
    Analysis tab 
    By default, the responses from all participants will display in this view.  

    To view only the results submitted by members of a specific group, select that group from the drop-down menu. The option to view groups is only available if groups have been enabled in the administration settings of the activity (feedback administration>edit settings>common module settings) 

  3. To view responses on the individual level, select the Show responses tab 
    Show responses tab 
    If the survey is not anonymous, it is possible to view the set of responses submitted by each respondent. Filter by group or by first or last initial, then click on the date beside the respondent's name 
    view responses 
    Anonymous surveys responses can also be viewed at the individual level. Anonymity is maintained by the removal of the student's name, which is replaced by a response number.  
    show anonymous responses 
  4. To export responses, select the required format and click Download
    Export to Excel button

5. Review

How did your feedback activity go? Would you set up the activity differently next time around? If you used the Touchpoint survey, did you make changes to your topic during the teaching/learning process? If yes, were the changes successful? Talk to your colleagues and/or your local eLearning support team to get ideas for improvement. 

  Training and support


Training / Support

Contact your college eLearning support team

Currently, there are no known issues

Feedback - Touchpoint survey

1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  |  5. Review  ||  Support 

Feedback activityThis entry relates to the Feedback activity.

The Touchpoint survey is a short survey designed as a ‘snapshot’ to provide formative feedback about student learning. The survey can be added to your topic early, mid and late (eg weeks 3- 4, 7, 11 or equivalent, depending on the topic structure), or just once in the topic. It prompts students to voluntarily and anonymously give feedback about their experience of the topic so far. 

The questions are:

  • How are you going with this topic so far?
  • Is there any topic content (covered so far) that is not clear to you?
  • Are you having any difficulties with the topic? If so, what?
  • Could anything be improved about this topic or the teaching?

These questions can be easily altered to suit your needs. The data provides formative feedback about where students are at, to allow adequate time to make changes to teaching if needed. It also helps reinforce that students are an active part of their own learning. The data from the survey remains with (is stored in) the topic.

View the Touchpoint survey

Use the Touchpoint survey in your FLO site

  1. Make a request to your local eLearning support team to have the tool added to your FLO site
  2. Unhide the tool (you can also edit/add questions if you like)
  3. Prompt students to use it via an announcement
  4. Later, click into it and check responses using the Show responses tab at the top (in the Analysis tab you can also Export to Excel)
  5. Think about what the results means for topic design and teaching
  6. Thank students and summarise your response via another announcement (to reward their efforts)
  7. Make any adjustments to the topic accordingly

FLO ecosystem

The tool options section helps you choose tools for use in / with FLO.

FLO ecosystem (this entry)  |  Tool options (specific purposes)  ||  Support 

The diagram below depicts the FLO ecosystem, that is, the learning technology suite available at Flinders. You can use this as a guide during your decision-making process when planning activities / assessment using learning technology. For example, if you are planning to use the tool in an assessment item, it is best in most instances not to use third-party (external) tools, unless they integrate with FLO. This article highlights important questions you should answer before using third-party tools in your FLO site: Things to consider if you want to use non-FLO tools in your teaching.

Tool options - bigger picture

  Training and support



Contact your eLearning support team

Not applicable

    FLO interface - Baseline

    1. Layout  |  2. Customisation  |  3. Topics  |  4. Logout  ||  Support 

    This entry relates to the FLO interface.

    This information has now been replaced by the digital learning guidelines.
    Baseline evolution

    What is the FLO topic baseline?

    The FLO topic baseline is a recommended baseline of information and resources within a Flinders Learning Online (FLO) site.

    The FLO topic baseline aims to clarify the expectations of what students can find as a minimum in a FLO topic site at Flinders University. These guidelines will be regularly reviewed to adapt to changing needs and requirements. The recommendations complement Flinders University Learning and Teaching Principles with links to resources that provide information about how to implement each guideline.

    FLO interface - Key features

    1. Layout  |  2. Customisation  |  3. Topics  |  4. Logout  ||  Support 

    There are two main page views you will encounter in FLO: My FLO, and individual Topic pages.

    My FLO

    My FLO has several main navigation areas: (see image below)

    1. Quicklinks - From here you can access the Library homepage, Student Portal, FLO Support resources or you can click on Topic Search to search for your topic.
    2. Navigation menu - Here you can access your My Media, Calendar, and all your topics.
    3. My Topics Overview - A list of all of your topics.
    4. Timeline block – Provides an overview of deadlines. Deadlines may be sorted by due dates (1) or by dates or topics (2).


    Navigating within any topic can be done in a number of ways:

    1. Breadcrumb trail - This breadcrumb trail appears on every page. Click on the links to navigate backwards toward the topic home page or your Dashboard.
    2. Navigation menu- From here you can navigate to your other topics as well as to the topic Calendar. It also displays links to the Participants list, Grades, Media Vault etc.
    3. Specific topic activities and resources - Click on any specific activity or resource to open it.
    4. Quick Back to Top button – Click to quickly navigate back to the top of the page, instead of scrolling up.
    5. Topic blocks - links to standardised topic information, activities, contact details, due dates, grades, etc.

    FLO interface - main entry

    Flinders Learning Online (FLO), Flinders University's web-based learning and teaching platform, facilitates the creation of online educational environments by non-technical users. FLO can be used to create entire online topics and courses or to provide interactive tools that supplement or complement existing topics and courses. All topics at Flinders have a FLO site. FLO is a 'suite' of technologies. The core of FLO is Moodle, but it also includes related educational technologies.

    1. Layout  |  2. Customisation  |  3. Topics  |  4. Logout   ||  Support 

    Anyone with a Flinders FAN can log into FLO. Each topic has a FLO site automatically created. Staff may request other sites (eg for courses, collaborative projects, committees) by contacting the eLearning support team in their college.

    A link to the FLO login page is provided in the Quicklinks menu in the top banner of the University website or via OKTA. Otherwise, type https://flo.flinders.edu.au/ into your browser address bar; this link will redirect you to OKTA to sign in. Once signed in you will be redirected to FLO. 

    When you first log into FLO, you will see the My FLO homepage. The My FLO page lists every topic you have a role in. Your topics are arranged in a Card layout under My Topics.

    The top of the 'My topics' block

    You can also see the items and topics that you have most recently accessed.

    The 'recently accessed topics' and 'recently accessed items' blocks.

    1. Layout

    The standard layout of the FLO homepage (My FLO) consists of blocks right of the screen, with the content on the left. A block is a widget that can provide a link to a feature, or can aggregate content from different areas of the site. Blocks available from My FLO can link you to upcoming assessments and latest announcements.

    flo layout

    In your topics, the blocks have moved to the banner in the top-right corner of the page.

    The topic blocks button is in the top-right corner of the screen

    The blocks panel is divided into three columns. Column 1 has the Topic links, Clock and Activities blocks. Column 2 has the Teaching team block and Column 3 has Lecture recordings and Recent activity blocks.

    The block layout inside a topic.


    2. Customisation

    My FLO page customisations

    To control which topics appear on your dashboard, you can star or remove them:

    1. Under the topic click on the three dots
    2. Choose Remove from view to hide the topic
    3. Choose Star this topic to add it to your Starred list. You can access the starred list from the filter in the top-left corner of the My Topics block (FLO remembers the last filter you chose each time you come to this page).

    The three dots are marked with a red border in this picture.

    Profile customisations (includes photo)

    Every user in FLO has a profile page that is displayed to other users. To edit your profile click the picture next to your name and select Profile from the drop-down list, then the Edit profile link in the user details box.

    edit profile

    You can edit your location, time zone and add a description about yourself. Your name and email address will be automatically added.

    You can also add a picture of yourself or something you want to be identified by. You can by scrolling down to the User picture section do this by clicking the add button add buttonor drag and dropping a picture into the box with the dotted lines. You can also provide a description for the picture. Adding a picture gives you a 'social presence' in FLO and will show in some FLO activities (eg forum posts) and the Teaching Team block.

    add picture

    Click the Update profile button  to save your changes.


    Preferences, available through the profile menu, allow you to control settings that primarily control how you receive information from FLO. The following settings are available:

    What it does
    Edit profile
    Preferred language
    • The default language is set to English.
    Forum preferences
    • How often you are notified about new posts
    • How you subscribe to forums.
    • Have new posts marked
    • Forum tracking
    Editor preferences
    • Choose which text editor to use. Note that access to the video platform is only available through the Default/Atto editors.
    Topic preferences
    • Turns on a comprehensive activity chooser. If disabled separate choosers for activities and resources are provided instead.
    Calendar preferences
    • Choose between a 12 & 24-hour calendar
    • Choose the first day of the week
    • The number of upcoming events that are displayed
    Message preferences
    • Control how you are notified about new messages
    • Prevent non-contacts from messaging you.
    Notification preferences
    • Control where and how you receive notifications for every activity in FLO
    You can return to the My FLO page by clicking the link in the topic breadcrumbs at the top of the screen. 


    3. Topics

    FLO topics consist of resources (eg lecture notes, files, URLs, and video files) and activities (eg assignment dropboxes, quizzes, discussion forums).

    Orientation to FLO and quick editing tips:

    Find your way around (FLO features)

    Tools for managing learning (such as the Gradebook) can be used to record and monitor student progress In the Flinders My Topics area – this is a listing of all the topics you have access to and you can decide how you would like to view your topics – in progress, past, future or starred topics.

    my topics

    The standard layout for each topic consists of content (modules/weeks) in the centre, navigation menu on the left, and topic blocks in the banner image.

    The top module can be used for resources that are needed throughout the semester and do not sit specifically into a weekly module, or one of the modules included in the starter site.  Note: If you are using a Collapsed topic format, the user cannot collapse the top module, and so consideration should be given to the number of resources in the top module to avoid a long scrolling experience. 

    topic layout

    Edit content in a topic
    The editing aspects of the topic are located at the top of the screen. The Topic Management, Navigation menu and Quicklinks appear at the top of your screen in every topic, along with the Turn editing on button. To edit or add content to your topic, select the  Turn editing on button.  

    Edit week/modules and activities/resources

    With editing on, next to each activity you will see an Edit drop-down menu. This menu will allow you to move, hide, duplicate or delete the activity. 

    The options in an edit menu - edit settings, move right/move left, hide/show, duplicate, delete.  

    A week/module or activity/resource can be quickly renamed using the pencil icon and moved easily using the move icon.
    move and pencil icon

    Note: If you using a weekly format and change the default module titles by renaming them, remember to check that date-specific resources like lecture recordings appear in the correct location before teaching begins.

    Add a block

    There are various blocks you can add to a topic. See the list in Add a block located at the top of the page in Topic Blocks:
    add a block    

    When you have finished editing, ensure that you Turn editing off.

    Add/delete a module

    1. Scroll to the end of the FLO topic homepage, and select either the add or delete option. blue plus and minus icons
    2. If adding, change the module name using the pen icon, and move to the position you want it (eg below Module 0) using the icon at the left of the module name
      move module
    Customise the My Topics block (My FLO)

    The My Topics block has filters to help you find your FLO sites. The following filters are available:

    All All your FLO sites, (except for any you have hidden)

    In progress All sites currently running (e.g. the topics you are currently teaching in)

    Future Topics you will be teaching in the future. Topics will move to In progress at the start of the semester

    Past Topics where teaching has finished

    Starred – Topics you have marked for easy access (see below)

    Removed from view Topics you have removed from the All filter.

    Whenever you log in to FLO, you are taken back to the filter you last chose. If you find that you are suddenly missing a topic, this can probably be fixed by checking which filter is selected.

    Create starred topics for quick access (My FLO)

    To access frequently used topics, you can 'star' a topic, which makes it easier to filter when you log in to FLO.

    1. First, click on My Topics list in the navigation menu:

      My FLO is the first item in the navigation menu

    2. Scroll down and find the topic you would like to star

    3. Click on the three dots

    4. Click on Star this topic

    Your topic will now appear in Starred, when you filter the list under My Topics.

    The filter is directly underneath the 'My Topics' heading.

    4. Logout

    Once you have finished in FLO remember to log out.

    1. Click on your profile menu
    2. Click on Log out
      log out menu

    FLO's browser compatibility

    FLO is compatible with any standards-compliant web browser. We regularly test FLO with the following most up-to-date browsers:


    • Chrome
    • Firefox


    • Safari
    • Chrome

    For the best experience and optimum security, we recommend that you keep your browser up to date.

     Training and support



    Contact your eLearning support team for any training required


    For further assistance please contact your local eLearning support team

    You may have one of the following issues:

    FLO interface - troubleshooting

    1. Layout  |  2. Customisation  |  3. Topics  |  4. Logout  ||  Support 

    This troubleshooting guide relates to the FLO Interface.


    FLO sends me too many emails

    You can control which email notifications you receive from FLO by locating your name (once logged in) in the toolbar/banner at the top of the screen. Use the drop-down arrow to go to Preferences, then Notification preferences. From here you can disable email notifications for particular activities.

    notification preferences email

    The file I want to upload is too big

    FLO has a default upload size of 50MB per file. You can change this using the following steps:

    1. On your topic's home page, click on the Topic Management button

    2. Click on the Cog icon

      The cog is in the top right corner

    3. Select Edit settings

    4. edit settings

    5. Scroll down to the Files and uploads section and select the topic size you require from the Maximum upload size drop-down list (if using Video we recommend using MyMedia instead of increasing the file limit)

    6. Click Save and display to apply changes

    I can't delete the topic links block

    This block provides key information to students about the topic and cannot be removed.

    When I delete the announcements it keeps coming back.

    The announcements activity is a key part of communicating with students on FLO and cannot be removed.

    What is the FLO starter site?

    The FLO starter site is a pre-configured starting place for a FLO topic and can be customised to work with the needs of a course or topic. Read more about the FLO starter site.

    FLO interface - WebPET (Web Presence in Every Topic)

    1. Layout  |  2. Customisation  |  3. Topics  |  4. Logout  ||  Support 

    This entry relates to the FLO interface.

    This information has now been replaced by the digital learning guidelines.

    What is 'WebPET'?

    WebPET (Web Presence in Every Topic) aims to provide:

    • a coherent and flexible student-University interface 
    • students with ready access to information which is timely, current and unambiguous 
    • a base for further use of technology to enhance the quality of teaching and learning 
    • minimum expectations of support - 'As a Flinders student I can expect…..'. 
    • efficiencies for academic and support staff 

    And in addition:

    • a more widespread and consistent use of FLO 
    • increased provision of online lecture recordings 
    • increased use of online assignment submission 

    Students are generally happy with using FLO for their studies but have expressed their desire for more consistency across their topics. 

    What does it look like?

    As a minimum, each FLO site has:

    • a topic links block (including links to topic information, library services, the SET system, a marks/grades tool, an email address lookup tool, and a link to staff and student help services) 
    • a general discussion forum 
    • an announcements forum and latest announcements block 
    • a calendar block 

    Expectations of staff

    All staff are required to:

    •  make all handouts available electronically through FLO (including the Statement of Assessment Methods
    •  post all important topic messages through the announcements forum 
    •  provide lecture recordings to students via FLO
    •  allow electronically-produced assignments to be submitted and returned electronically

    What you can expect from the University

    The University will:

    • automatically set up new FLO sites to contain the minimum tools and links
    • automatically generate the required information within sites
    • automatically insert recorded lectures into FLO sites 
    • provide support for the electronic assignment functionality 

    Forum / Announcements - create a discussion forum

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   || Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    You can create a discussion forum in any topic module. Note: The Announcements forum is included in all topics (you do not need to create it).

    Set up a forum

    1. Turn editing on

    2. In the module where you want to add the forum, click Add an activity or resource 
      Add an activity or resource

    3. Select Forum and click Add

    4. Give the forum a Name and Description

    5. Select Forum type from the drop-down menu:
      • A single simple discussion – A single discussion topic which everyone can reply to (cannot be used with separate groups)
      • Each person posts one discussion – Each student can post exactly one new discussion topic, which everyone can then reply to
      • Q and A forum – Students must first post their perspectives before viewing other students' posts. For students to be able to post to a Q and A forum, a teacher must first post a question for students to respond to
      • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with 'Discuss this topic' links
      • Standard forum for general use – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time

        forum type

    6. Enable Availability (if required). If enabled, students will retain their ability to view the forum outside of the dates supplied, but will be prevented from further posting. Choose the Allow posts from (open) and Due date (close) dates. Note that the Due date will not stop students from posting or replying to discussions. Use the cut-off date to set a hard due date where students will not be able to post or reply to the discussion after the date chosen.

      You can also set a date time for an individual forum to show/hide in the Display period section of a forum post.

    7. availability

      Timeline block: The 'due date' will show to students in the Timeline block.

    8. In the Attachments and word count option, select Yes to enable (if required), and set a maximum number of attachments and the size
      word count

    9. In the Subscription and tracking section, set the subscription mode and the read tracking (optional or off)
      subscription tracking

    10. In the discussion locking section, you can automatically lock a discussion after a specified time has elapsed since the last reply
      discussion locking

    11. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period. This restriction can prevent individuals from dominating discussions
      block threshold

    12. Select an Aggregate type for the forum to appear in the Gradebook. If 'No ratings' is selected the activity will not appear in the Gradebook
      rating aggregrate type
      Ratings can be restricted to items within a selected date range, select your aggregate type and tick the Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range: and select the date range.

    13. Group mode can be selected in Common module settings

    14. Click Save and display


    Set up marking in a forum

    There are two ways to mark a forum in FLO:

    • Whole forum grading allows you to mark a student’s entire contribution to a forum as a cohesive whole
    • Ratings allow you to rate individual forum posts and choose how those ratings aggregate to a final score

    Whole forum grading
    1. Create or edit a forum and open the Whole forum grading section

    2. Choose Point or Scale from the Grade menu

    3. Choose Checklist, Marking guide or Rubric from the Grading method menu. For more information about these options, view our resource on setting up a feedback template

    4. Click Save and display

    5. Once you have saved your changes, click on the cog icon in the top right corner of the page, and then select Advanced grading

    6.  On the Advanced grading page, select Define a new grading form from scratch

    Rating individual posts

    1. Create or edit a forum and open the Ratings section

    2. Set the Aggregate type
      • Average of ratings (default) – useful if there is more than one post/one marker
      • Count of ratings: The number of rated items becomes the final grade. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity
      • Maximum rating: The highest rating becomes the final grade;
      • Minimum rating: The lowest rating becomes the final grade
      • Sum of ratings: All ratings are added together. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity

    3. Set the Scale:
      • if set to Scale, the Scale will automatically be set to Non-graded pass so no Maximum points can be set
      • if set to Point, you can set the Maximum points (default is 100)
        Note: You can leave the default at 100, as if you set the weighting of the final grade for this assessment in Gradebook, the grade will be automatically scaled down

    4. If you tick the box Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range: you will need to set the dates
      • From: The date and time that ratings can begin being submitted – this could be a few days before the forum closes
      • To: The date and time that ratings will no longer be accepted – this could be the forum close date
        forum ratings

    Forum / Announcements - create separate discussion forums for groups in a topic

    1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  |  5. Review  ||  Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    You can create separate discussion forums for groups of students in a single forum activity (you don't need to create a separate forum activity for each group).

    Note: Before creating your group discussion forum, you will need to organise your students into groups and add these groups to a grouping

    Good practice guides and tip sheets

    Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to group-related resources are provided below. 

    Group work 


    Create a group discussion forum

    1. Turn editing on 

    2. In the module where you want to create the forum, click Add an activity or resource  

    3. From the Activities tab, select Forum 

    4. Give the forum a Name and Description

    5. Apply other settings as necessary (see Set up a forum)

    6. Under Common module settings, change Group mode to Separate groups to give each group their own private forum, or Visible groups to create a forum for each group and allow other groups to view (but not post to)
      Group mode setting

      For the Grouping setting, select the grouping containing the groups you want to use for the forum
      Grouping setting

    7. Click Save and display

    Forum / Announcements - exporting forum posts

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   || Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    Once the forum is made available to students (via the Forum settings), you may want to do one or more of the following actions, depending on the forum settings.

    Export an entire forum, or part of a forum

    1. Open the forum, then click on the cog icon in the top-right corner of the page (parallel with the title of the forum). Select Export from the bottom of the list

    2. You can choose to export the entire forum or add filters to export part of it:
      • Specific students
      • Specific discussion topics
      • Posts within a particular date range

    3. Choose a file format. The default file format is a CSV file, which opens in Excel, but there are other file formats you may prefer. Note that all the export options show data in a tabled layout.

    4. Under the Export options section, make sure that both boxes are ticked (these make the exported file easier to read).

    5. Click the Export button

    Export a discussion thread

    1. Open the forum and open the discussion topic you wish to export.

    2. Above the first post, select Mahara ePortfolio from the File Download menu, then click on the Export whole discussion to portfolio.

    3. You will be asked if you want to confirm if it is in HTML (a web page) or Leap2A format (a Mahara compatible format), then confirm the export.

    4. The exported HTML file will download to your computer. The exported Leap2A file will be available in Mahara.

    Alternatively, if you want to export the discussion topic without sending it to Mahara, you could print the page as an Adobe PDF file.

    Export a single post

    You (or a student) can export a post to a portfolio.

    1. Find the post you wish to export

    2. In the bottom right-hand corner of the post, click on the Export to portfolio link.

    3. Select Mahara ePortfolio from the Select destination menu

    4. You will be asked if you want to export the post as a HTML file (a web page) or Leap2A file (a Mahara compatible format). Then click Next.

    5. Confirm your export by clicking Continue

    6. The exported file is now available in Mahara.

    You can also copy and paste the post’s text into Mahara. While this easier, be aware that it doesn't carry across the post date and time, so won’t be suitable in all situations.

    Forum / Announcements - main entry

    Whether you are starting from scratch or working with a discussion forum already created, using the forum activity in a topic ideally consists of 5 stages, in a looped process.

    1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  |  5. Review  || Support

    forum icon

    Forum and Announcements are the same activity. However, you do not need to add a discussion forum for Announcements as this activity will already be set up in your topic. The difference between Forum and Announcements is that announcements are for teacher use only – students cannot add a discussion post or reply to an announcement. When you set up a forum in your topic, students can interact with you and other students.

    Announcements are a way of generating social presence/active teaching in your FLO topic. You can provide information to all students using the 'Latest announcements' block on the topic homepage. This is handy for important information (eg changes to lecture/tutorial times, assessment reminders). Remind your students to check their emails regularly. 

    Forums enable participants to have asynchronous discussions (ie discussions that take place over an extended period of time). Discussion forums provide opportunities for social presence and can foster a community of practice in your FLO topic. Participation in the forum could contribute to an assessment grade, and could also indicate problem areas. Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. 

    Good practice guides and tip sheets

    Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to fourm-related resources are provided below. 

    Inspirational and engaged teaching | Designing assessmentIncorporating Socratic questions into your FLO siteProviding constructive feedback in FLO | Communication, interaction and collaboration tools in FLO | Facilitating Student-Teacher interaction in FLO


    1. Plan


    Announcements are a timely, active element in the topic – use them to post reminders, pose challenging questions, generate curiosity, answer a common FAQ, or respond to 'muddy points'. Announcements are posted to all enrolled students in the topic within 30 minutes of posting (assuming that they have not disabled email notifications in their personal preferences).


    Discussion forums can have many uses, formal and informal:

    • a social space for students to get to know each other (eg a 'student lounge')
    • discussing topic content or reading materials
    • preparing for an assessment item, or as an assessment item (this can reduce emails to staff)
    • troubleshooting (a great way to foster a community)
    • continuing online an issue raised in a face-to-face session
    • a 'help centre' where tutors and students can give advice
    • teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
    The forum's purpose will determine the type of forum you set up. For example: 

    Are you going to assess forum participation? | What type of forum will you set up? | Will you set up ratings in the forum?

    Suggestions to help with planning:

    • Talk to teaching peers about issues around forum participation and assessment.
    • Decide what marks to assign to the forum (it could be a non-graded pass or a percentage).
    • Give students a rubric/marking guide that shows them what effective participation means – criteria could include originality, scholarly argument, type of interactions between students and demonstration of critical thinking skills (quality), as well as the number of posts and word length.
    • Decide whether to use peer assessment (ratings) – this approach could help create a sense of community and deepen learning: 
      • Ask your local eLearning team to set up the forum to allow peer assessment.
      • Decide on the range of ratings (eg 5 which means students can rate each other on a scale of 1-5)
      • How might students give feedback other than just a rating? It might be to reply to the rated post saying why they think it is worth x, and their own response. This is forum etiquette anyway when replying to posts (‘I don’t agree with…’ etc) and helps develop a critical but constructive approach.

    2. Build


    You do not need to build the Announcements forum activity as it will already be set up in your topic. It will likely be sitting in Module 0.


    Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the Gradebook.

    3. Test

    You could ask your eLearning support team to check the settings for your forum, to make sure it serves the purpose you had in mind in the planning stage.

    4. Administer


    View some tips for fostering a community and facilitating/monitoring a discussion forum (PDF file).

    In FLO (tracking tips)

    5. Review

    The observations you note whilst the forum is running will help you fine-tune it for the next iteration of your topic, for example:

    • Would a different forum type be better?
    • Did students participate as much as you wanted? If not, why not?
    • Did student feedback tell you anything? (eg Touchpoint survey, class discussion, emails)
    You could troubleshoot with your eLearning support team or colleagues to refine your approach.

      Training and support


    eLearning support teams

    Forum / Announcements - manage a discussion forum

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   || Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    Once the forum is made available to students (via the Forum settings), you may want to one or more of the following actions, depending on the forum settings.

    Add, delete or move posts

    Once a discussion forum is open for student posts, teachers will need to manage the forum – moderate posts (eg around  netiquette, 'muddy' points/teachable moments, drifting conversations), assess forum participation, rate posts etc. Students may also need to manage their and others' posts – follow the conversation, export their posts, use them in an eportfolio/for an assignment etc.

    Staff can delete, move or export posts. Students can delete (their own post, within a 15-minute time frame) or export their posts.

    Add a post

    1. Click on the forum

    2. Click the Add a new discussion topic button

    3. Add a Subject and Message

    4. Click on the Advanced link to:
      • add an attachment
      • set dates when the topic should or should not display
      • pin the topic to the top of the forum
      • post the topic instantly (there is a 15 minute period before notifications are sent to students)

    5. Click Post to forum

    Delete a post

    Teaching staff may want to delete a post if it is inappropriate (eg flaming).

    1. Click on the post you want to delete in the Discussion column

    2. In the next screen, click on the Delete option in the right-hand corner of the post
      delete prompt
    3. You will be asked if you are sure you want to delete the post. Click Continue to delete the post, and any replies to that post.

    4. Check in the post list screen to make sure it has been deleted

    If you feel it is necessary to remove a post from a forum, but would prefer the post were not strictly deleted, please contact your eLearning support team to discuss splitting the post.

    Move a topic

    You can move a topic to another forum where it is more appropriate/relevant (eg a query about assessment may belong in a forum set up especially for this rather than where it has been posted).

    1. Click on the topic you want to move in the Discussion column

    2. In the next screen, in the top right-hand corner of the post click on the pull-down menu next to the Move button
      move discussion

    3. Choose the forum you want to move the topic to, and click Move

    4. Check in the original forum and the forum you have moved the topic to, to make sure the topic has moved

    View a student's posts

    A teacher can view the posts of a particular student and see all posts or any discussions started by that student. This is a useful feature if you want to provide feedback on a student's posts or see how often they are posting in a forum/s. 

    1. Click on the Participants link in the Topic Management panel (under User Links)

    2. Click on the student's name (this will load their profile)
      participant's name

    3. Click Forum posts
      Forum posts

    4. You should see a list of the student's posts and the name of the forum/s the posts were made in – you can click the options Permalink, Show parent, Edit, Split, Delete, Reply or Export to portfolio
      forum options

    Post a question to a Q and A forum

    1. Enter the forum by clicking on the activity on the topic homepage
      Q and A forum

    2. Click Add a new question
      Add a new question

    3. Enter a question Subject and Message
      Add question etc

    4. Press the Post to forum button

    5. The student will be able to view the question by clicking on the discussion Subject, and can post a response by hitting the Reply button. To see the other responses, they must first post their own.

      question posted

      post reply

    Reply privately to a post

    You can reply privately to a student’s post to give individual feedback within a forum. To reply privately, commence a reply as normal, and tick the Reply privately box underneath the text box.

    The reply privately box is the third option under the text box. 

    Students can not reply back to a private reply you have left. If you need to initiate a discussion with a student, use a different communication method.

    Control how long forum posts are visible

    You restrict student access to the forum in the Availability section of the forum settings, when you are setting up the forum. Once the forum is open to students, you can also set the dates when a topic is visible (or not visible).

    1. If creating a new topic, click on the Advanced link and open the display period.
      edit a forum post
    2. If the topic has already been created, open the topic you wish to restrict, then click on the Edit option below the post
      edit a forum post

    3.  Open the Display period tab, and select the Enable boxes to set dates for displaying the post (show/hide)
      display period options

    Forum / Announcements - manage announcements

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer  |  5. Review   || Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    Each topic contains an Announcements forum. Only staff members are able to post into this forum and students will be sent an email copy of each message posted into this forum, assuming that they have not disabled email notifications in their personal preferences. Posting an announcement is an easy and reasonably effective way to communicate important information to students.

    You could post an announcement:

    • when students get access to the topic (usually 1 week prior to topic commencement), as a welcome/orientation
    • when assessment item due dates are approaching, to support students being on task
    • when a guest lecturer is presenting, to encourage students to attend

    Post an announcement – steps

    1. In your topic, locate the Announcements forum (usually in module 0) 

    2. Click on Add a new topic

    3. Enter a Subject and Message
      add a subject and message

    4. Select Pinned (under Advanced, see image above) if you'd like the message pinned to the top of the list

    5. Select Post instantly (under Advanced, see image above) if you'd like the message to be emailed and made visible to students instantly. If post instantly is not selected, the post will be emailed 15 minutes later, giving you time to correct any mistakes you make after posting (depending on the students forum email digest settings in their profile)
      post instantly

    6. Select Post to forum

    Forum / Announcements - marking a forum

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   || Support

    This entry relates to the Forum activity.

    Forums have the ability to be marked. For information on how to enable marking in a forum view Create a discussion forum.

    • Whole forum grading - mark a student’s entire contribution to a forum as a cohesive whole
    • Rate a forum post - rate individual forum posts and choose how those ratings aggregate to a final score

    Whole forum grading

    If the forum has been set up for grading it will automatically appear in the Gradebook

    Whole forum grading allows you to view all of a student’s posts in a particular forum and mark them as a whole, using either a numerical mark or advanced grading methods. To do this:

    1. Open the forum, and click on the Grade users button
      grading users

    2. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the top right corner of the page to search for a particular student, or use the arrow buttons to move through students sequentially
      image of a not graded student

    3. On the left-hand side of the page, you will see all of the posts from the student you selected.
      image of grading
    4. If a student’s post is part of a thread, you can click on the View parent post link to see the post the student is replying to, or click on the View discussion link to see all posts in that particular discussion.

    5. On the right-hand side of the page, you can enter the student’s mark and choose whether the student will be notified that they have been graded.

      If you want to give written feedback, you can use the advanced grading features, which will appear here as well (the marking guide and checklist allow for individualised comments). You can also use private replies
      to give feedback within the forums, though you can’t add private replies from the marking screen.
      grade forum image
    6. Click on the Save button to save your changes. Once you have saved, the students status will change to Graded.
      save changes image

    Rate a forum post

    If the forum has been set up for ratings, it will automatically appear in the Gradebook.

    1. Go to the forum, open a forum post (click on the link) and rate it using the drop-down rating box. (In the example below, the scale is out of 5). To give written feedback, add a private reply.
    2. You could sample one post for rating, or go into each post and rate them all (depending on the marking/assessment strategy). If the marking strategy involves marking multiple posts, be aware of the aggregation method used:

    • Average or ratings: the mean of all ratings given
    • Count of ratings: the number of ratings given is the mark
    • Maximum rating: the highest rated post determines the mark awarded
    • Minimum rating: the lowest rated post determines the mark awarded
    • Sum of ratings: all ratings are added together, and the total is the mark awarded

    1. If you wish to moderate the mark awarded, staff with the Teacher and Topic coordinator roles can override the grade using manual grading.

    Forum / Announcements - troubleshooting

    1. Plan  |   2. Build   |  3. Test   | 4. Administer   |  5. Review   || Support

    forum iconThis entry relates to the Forum activity.

    I'm not receiving forum posts to my email

    There might be several reasons for this problem:

    • You may not be subscribed to the forum/s
    • You may not have your forum tracking set properly
    • You may be receiving daily digests
    • Your forum notifications may be disabled

    You may not be subscribed to the forum/s

    You will need to subscribe to forums before you receive new posts in your email. (Note: everyone in the topic is subscribed to the Announcements forum by default.)

    1. Click on your profile picture/name (grey toolbar top of screen)

    2. Click Preferences

    3. In the User account area select Forum preferences
      forum preferences

    4. In the Forum auto-subscribe section select Yes: when I post, subscribe me to that forum discussion

    5. Click Save changes

    You may not have your forum tracking set properly

    When you are notified of a forum post, you can choose whether this should mark the post as read for the purpose of forum tracking. 

    1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above

    2. In the Forum Tracking drop down list select Yes: highlight new post for me 

    3. In the When sending forum post notifications drop-down list select Do not mark the post as read – this will ensure when you receiving notifications posts are not marked as 'read'
      profile forum preferences

    4. Click Save changes

    You may be receiving daily digests

    By default, users receive forum posts compiled into a single email sent daily, usually overnight. (The exception is Announcement posts, which are sent out within 30 minutes.) You can change your notification settings to receive individual emails.

    1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above

    2. In Forum preferences section, change Email digest type to No digest (single email per forum post)
      forum preferences

    3. Click Save changes

    Your forum notifications may be disabled

    You can choose to turn off forum notifications. To turn them back on:

    1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above

    2. In the User account area select Notification preferences

    3. In the Forum section, make sure all four Email boxes are set to On
      forum email notifications

    4. Click Save changes

    Students can't post to a Q and A forum

    For students to be able to post to a Q and A forum, a teacher must first post a question for students to respond to.

    Below is the student view of a Q and A forum without a teacher-initiated question. Note that it does not yet have buttons where students can post a reply.

    Q & A student view