This information applies only to the Original Course View. Your institution controls which tools are available.

After you start a discussion in your course, you might find it's a challenge to maintain discussion activity throughout the term. Discussions that start out with ample excitement can dwindle as the term progresses.

Moderation is a balance between guiding the conversation and standing back to let students discover new ideas. You can configure discussion board functions to keep students focused on relevant discussions and determine a student's level of access.

You can grant forum moderation abilities to other users.

Forum roles

Assign forum roles to limit access to a forum or to help with forum administration. For example, to help control the discussion board content presented to your students, you can assign a responsible user the role of moderator.

In a forum, each user has a role and can have only one role per forum. By default, instructors have the role of manager and students have the role of participant. When you're logged in as an instructor, you can't change your own forum role.

Your institution controls which course roles are available.

This table describes the forum roles and their permissions.

Forum Roles and Permissions
Role Permissions
Manager Managers have full control over a forum and can change forum settings, moderate posts, and assign roles and grades.

Instructors and teaching assistants are granted this forum role by default.
Builder Builders can edit, copy, and delete forums, but not grade or manage forums. Inside a forum, a builder can perform the same actions on posts as an instructor, except grading threads. Builders can also create new threads in a forum, and can enable grading for a thread and type a value.

Course builders are granted this forum role by default.
Moderator Moderators can delete, edit, and lock all posts in any forum, even if the forum doesn't use the moderation queue. If you use a moderation queue, the moderator approves or rejects posts in the queue before they're made available to all users.

Instructors and course builders are granted this forum role by default.
Grader Graders can read, reply to, and grade posts. The grader role has some access to the Grade Center, but can't assign grades to their own work.

Graders are granted this forum role by default.
Participant Participants can read and reply to posts.

Students are granted this role by default.
Reader Readers can read the contents of a forum, but can't post responses or add threads.
Blocked Blocked users can't access the forum.

Assign forum roles

  1. In a discussion board, open a forum's menu and select Manage.
  2. On the Manage Forum Users page, a list of users appears. Open a user's menu and select a new role for them. The new role appears in the Forum Role column for the user.

    If you want to show only one role at a time, make a selection in the Display Forum Role list and select Go.

  3. To change multiple roles at one time, select the users' check boxes and point to Edit Role. Select the check box in the header row to select all users.
  4. Select OK to return to the discussion board.


As an online instructor, your role is to facilitate the conversation and exchange of ideas on the discussion board. You ensure that students feel comfortable to share while also monitoring responses and keeping everyone focused and on track. At the same time, you want to be careful not to dominate or impede the flow of the discussion.

Occasionally, students may introduce inappropriate material for the class discussion. Depending on the maturity and sensitivity of the students in your course, you may need to review student posts for inappropriate content before you share posts with the rest of the class.

In a discussion forum, you can assign a user the role of moderator. A moderator reviews posts before they appear in the discussion.

When you create a moderated forum, all posts to the forum are added to a moderation queue. A moderator reviews each post and can:

  • Publish the post
  • Return the post to the sender without a message
  • Return the post to the sender with a message

A moderator can delete, edit, and lock posts in a forum even if the forum doesn't use the moderation queue.

You can choose to moderate a forum when you create it or when you edit an existing forum. Only posts added after you enable forum moderation are available for review in the moderation queue.

If you don't assign a moderator, the manager must take responsibility for the approval of posts in a moderated forum.

  1. In a discussion board, open a forum's menu and select Edit.
  2. On the Edit Forum page, select the Force Moderation of Posts check box and select Submit.

    In a moderated forum, the settings don't allow students to edit or delete posts. These settings ensure that the post approved is the one viewed by users.

Approve or return discussion posts

  1. After posts are submitted, open the forum. In the moderator view, no posts appear because the messages need approval. Select Moderate Forum.

    The Moderate Forum function appears only to those users who have a forum role of manager or moderator. In the student view, the author can see the post in Tree View with a reminder it's in the moderation queue.

  2. On the Moderation Queue page, the posts appear in alphabetical order by title. Select the column title to sort by post title, author, or date. To review a post, select Moderate.
  3. On the Moderate Post page, read the post and select Publish or Return. Published messages are immediately posted to the thread.
  4. Type feedback in the text box. Though feedback is optional, you can provide guidance, ask questions, redirect a student's focus, and explain why a post was returned.
  5. Select Submit.

When you choose Return on the Moderate Post page, the post is removed from the moderation queue. Students see their returned posts in the thread, along with the explanation you may have provided. The post is marked as Returned.

The student can also see the returned post if they view the forum in Tree View. Expand the post with the plus sign. If you included feedback, students can see why the post was returned.

In the thread, students can edit their posts while they view the moderator's feedback and resubmit them. The posts are returned to the moderation queue. Moderation Queue appears next to the post's title.