Forums (Forum icon) are ways for students to hold discussions online and act like a virtual message board.

Each course contains at least one forum for course news and announcements (the exact name can vary). This forum is used by the tutor to broadcast course news to all students and every student will receive email copies of messages posted within it.

Other forums may also be available within a course at the discretion of the tutor and are good places to post questions and comments, share ideas etc.

Click on the forum’s name to view a description of the forums purpose and a list of the Discussion topics. The topics are listed from latest to oldest. Click the discussion topic's title to view and participate in the discussion. If you click on the persons name you will see their profile page, not their forum message.

Forum info

The discussion and all replies are listed from oldest to newest. Click the Reply link on the appropriate discussion to post your ideas or comments (the link is at the bottom right corner of the message.

Forum reply

Type your message in the text entry box. Click 'Post to forum ' to finish. Your message will be indented underneath the one you replied to and will be visible to everyone else with access to the forum (class mates). You have 15 minutes to edit your entry, after which edit rights disappear and email copies are sent to anyone subscribed to the forum.

Forum reply post
Forum reply post 2
Subscription means that you are automatically emailed when someone posts a message. [Click to see more details on managing your email subscription options]

You may also attach a document or picture file to your forum message if you wish by clicking 'Browse' to upload a file before posting your message to the forum. File size limits may apply for attachements (e.g. maximum file size of 1 MB for an attachment).

If you want to change your attachment after you have posted your message, follow these steps (within 15 minutes of making your original posting):

  • Click on Edit at the bottom of the page
  • Scroll down to the attachment box. You will notice that this box is blank. This does not mean there is no attachment on your message!
  • Click browse. Choose your new attachment file.
  • Click Post to Forum - this will replace your old attachment.

Note: Remember, only post information on what the forum is about. You only have 15 minutes to edit your entry.

Starting your own discussion topic

Click 'Add a new discussion topic…' to begin a new discussion - you may not be able to do this depending on how the tutor has set up the forum. Make sure your subject line explains the topic well. Follow the instructions.

Layout options for forums

Forum thread display

You have several options for displaying topics or discussion threads on the forums. There is a drop-down menu at the top of each topic. Experiment with these options to find the format that you find easiest to use.


It wouldn't be fair if we didn't admit that things occasionally go wrong while using the discussion forums. When working on a message over a long period there is the risk of it "disappearing" should, for example, the NMIT Online session time out or a dial-up connection drop out.Also, there is no "auto-save" feature, so if you move away from the reply page (e.g. click on a link) you will lose all your typing.

Noting the following tips for writing and saving discussion forum messages will spare you from these mishaps.

  1. Just before you post your message, select all the text of your message and copy it. If your message fails to save properly you will be able to create a new message and paste you copied text back into it.
  2. If you need to follow a link while you are part way through typing a message, use the "New Tab" feature of your browser to follow the link in a separate tab. Tabs allow you to work on other web pages without affecting your original one.
  3. Good, "safe" practice when creating long forum messages is to put your cutting and pasting skills to work. Write and save the message in a word processor, copy it, then log in to NMIT Online and paste the text into a discussion topic message. Keep formating to a minimum when using a word processor, applying the required formatting after pasting into the NMIT Online text editor.

    This method also saves quite a bit of online time if a you happen to be working via a dial-up connection.

Discussion Forum Communication Protocols

  1. Avoid using all capitals – Internet conventions mean this is the equivalent of shouting or “flaming” someone.
  2. When posting a reply to another student’s discussion posting or chat comment, make sure the ‘golden rule’ applies i.e. don’t post anything you would be unhappy to receive if it were posted to you.
  3. Any issues or problems with the course or with another course member should be notified privately to the tutor by email or phone, not raised in a chat room or posted publicly on a discussion forum –please use email or phone the tutor for emergencies or important course issues only.
  4. Log in to the course regularly (but preferably each working day) just to keep up with what is happening.
  5. Keep to one topic per discussion posting as much as possible, it is better to post several postings on one topic each, rather than one long posting with several topics embedded in it.