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Discussion Forums

Forums within eClass create a space for instructors and students to exchange ideas and engage in online course discussions. The use of forums can contribute significantly to engagement, communication, and community building in an online course environment.

Conversations in discussion forums can mirror the discourse that would normally take place in the classroom, such as discussing, debating or reflecting on learned content. However, forums give learners the opportunity to further develop their thoughts on a topic, and expand upon their understanding of key ideas.

Video Tutorials

Displayed below is a video tutorial playlist for eClass Discussion Forums. Click the playlist icon at the top right of the video to see related tutorials, or click here to be brought to our YouTube Channel.

Best Practices

As a pedagogical strategy, forums are especially suited for content-based courses, although skill-based courses can also make productive use of the approach through peer feedback discussions and metacognitive writing prompts. Forum discussions typically involve three phases:

  1. The faculty member initiates conversation with a writing prompt linked to course content or student learning (either text-based or aligned with an audio/video clip);
  2. The student responds to the writing prompt (with a firm deadline); and
  3. The student then replies to their classmates’ initial responses (with another firm deadline).

The last phase is important to ensuring student-student interaction and inviting a genuine discussion. Some instructors will also introduce a fourth and final phase, where students would re-engage with the discussion thread they began, providing final thoughts to the peers that wrote replies.


Whole forum grading – it is a recent feature of eClass that allows instructors to easily assess each student’s individual participation in a forum, with built-in options for detailed feedback and scoring. Watch this brief video to learn how to enable whole forum grading in your forums.

Yes! Each course on eClass is equipped with an “Announcements” forum, where instructors can post course notices, and all messages are automatically sent to students via email. Watch our brief video to learn more about using the Announcements forum in your eClass course.

No, forum notifications are only sent out if someone is “subscribed” to a forum. By default, the forums you create would have “optional subscriptions,” where students can opt-in to receive notifications when they post to a discussion. Some other forums might have “forced subscription,” with everyone receiving notifications by default, such as the “Announcements” forum. For more details, click the information icon next to the “Subscription mode” setting in your eClass Forum Settings.

Want to work one-on-one with our instructional support staff to design a Discussion Forum?