Highlight unread posts in Moodle Forums

Did you know that it’s possible for course participants to see how many unread posts they have in a Moodle forum?

To ensure users are kept up-to-date with discussions in course forums, we normally recommend that course participants are subscribed to the forums so that any new post will be sent as an email to the user. However, by being potentially subscribed to many forums across a number of courses, notifications may “clog up” a student’s inbox; or perhaps the email arrives when the user’s attention is focussed elsewhere and the notification is then forgotten about as other emails arrive.

The alternative solution to being subscribed is for the course page itself to highlight any forums that have “unread” posts when the user next visits.

Moodle screenshot showing two Moodle forum activities - both with unread posts.

The user will be able to see from the course page where posts have been made since they last visited the forum.

By clicking on the Forum activity, the user is presented with the list of discussions; any discussions with “unread posts” are identified with a number (in a pink circle) indicating how many unread posts there are:

Moodle screenshot of a Forum activity listing the discussions in that forum. One of the discussions has 1 unread post.

When the user then visits that discussion, any unread posts are indicated by a yellow header:

Moodle screenshot of a Moodle discussion within a Forum activity. The

“So how do I make this happen?”

In order for the user to take advantage of this feature, they will need to change their own forum preferences.

  1. The user will need to click on their name in the top-right corner of the page and select Preferences from the drop-down menu:
Moodle screenshot of the user menu indicating how to navigate to the user's Preferences page.
  1. On the ‘Preferences’ page, the user should click on Forum preferences.
  2. The ‘Forum tracking’ setting needs to be set to Yes: highlight new posts for me:
Moodle screenshot of the Forum preferences page. The setting 'Forum tracking' is highlighted as this will determine whether unread forum posts will be highlighted within Moodle.
  1. The user should then click on Save changes to confirm the change.
In the Forum Preferences, there is an additional setting which determines whether Moodle will highlight unread posts in any forums to which the user is already subscribed (ie. for which they receive forum post notifications).

In the above screenshot, the setting 'When sending forum post notifications' is set to Do not mark the post as read. If the user does NOT want unread posts to be highlighted if they are subscribed to that Forum, they should set this to Mark the post as read.

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