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How to make “old” forums read-only in Moodle and Totara Learn

Recently during one of our training events, a participant had a need to prevent students from posting to forums from earlier in a course.

The course in question ran over a number of months and included several forum activities addressing specific topics at different stages in the course.

It was difficult for the tutor to devote time to monitoring all of the forums within the course; the tutor, therefore, wanted to “lock” the forums so that, whilst students should still be able to review the discussion threads from earlier forums, they should not be able to post to them.

In Moodle, whilst you can control when a forum can be accessed (using the Restrict access functionality), there are no options in the Forum settings page to control when people are allowed to post to the forum.

Image1The solution to this participant’s specific need lay, therefore, within overriding the Student role’s permissions within an activity. The solution is explained below:

  1. As a teacher, when you are ready to prevent your students from posting to a forum, click on the forum activity from the course page.
  2. In the Administration block, select Forum administration > Permissions 
  3. From the Advanced role override drop-down list, select Student 
  4. For the Reply to posts and Start new discussions capabilities, set the Permission to Prevent:Image2
  5. Scroll down and click on the Save changes. 
  6. Students will now be able to access the forum activity as before, but will no longer be able to post nor create new discussions in that particular forum.

What Next

The Forum activity itself is covered in more detail on our Course Creator Essential course, and role capabilities and permissions are covered as part of our Moodle Administrator course. Do you want to make the most out of your Moodle site? We want to hear from you. Call us on 0330 660 1111 or contact us via

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