How do I add a discussion forum into OnCourse?

Step-by-step guide

**Note* This tool was formerly called "Advanced Forum." All features and setup remain the same.

Discussion forums in OnCourse are called Open Forums. These can be for simple discussion but can also be graded.

IMPORTANT: You will notice that there are both Open Forums and Forums available in OnCourse. While both will work for discussions, only Open Forums have a grading feature available. We advise you to always choose Open Forums for the most functionality!

Adding an Open Forum

  1. Access the course the Open Forum belongs in and turn on editing.

  2. To turn editing on, locate the green gear icon on the right hand side of the page. From the drop-down menu select Turn editing on.    

    Click on the drop-down menu to the right of the gear icon and click on Turn editing on

  3. Locate the section to add the Open Forum to and press the “Add and activity or resource” link.

  4. Choose Open Forum from the options and press Add.


Complete the following fields:

  1. Forum name: Add the name that will appear in the course for the students to click on.

  2. Description: This is a good location to place your discussion question and any directions about posting.

  3. Display recent posts on course page: This item is checked by default and the most recent posts will show on the main course page. This can be distracting and take up room. Unchecking this box will prevent the posts from showing on the front page.

  4. Choose a forum type

    1. A single simple discussion - A single discussion topic to which everyone can reply (cannot be used with separate groups)

    2. Each person posts one discussion - Each student can post exactly one new discussion topic, to which everyone can then reply

    3. Q and A forum - Students must first post their perspectives before viewing other students' posts; in addition, the instructor must post a question to initiate the discussion.

    4. 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

    5. Standard forum for general use - An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time


By default, Open Forums are set to optional subscription. If you would like students to be forced to subscribe, change this to Forced Subscription. For more information on subscribing to Open Forums, visit


If this Open Forum will be graded, change the Grade Type drop-down menu to Manual.

  1. Enter the Maximum Points.

  2. Choose a Grade category.

  3. Press Save and return to course, or Save and display to enter the Open Forum.



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