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  1. Moodle
  2. MDL-70999

Discussion Forum Metrics


    • Icon: Improvement Improvement
    • Resolution: Won't Do
    • Icon: Minor Minor
    • None
    • 3.11
    • Forum, Reports
    • None



      Through this set of reports, those with permission can access detailed information on what happened in forum discussions. There are four main types of report - Individual, Group, Discussion, and Country - each look at forum engagement from a different perspective.

      The Individual Report shows the level of each person’s participation. That is, how many times they replied to a reply, how many times they replied to a reply to a reply, (and further) how much multimedia they used, the number of participants they interacted with, the number of nationalities they participated with, and more.

      The Group Report allows the user to check the group participation: how many are active participants of each group and those that haven't participated, the international make-up of the group, and how active each group is.

      The Discussion Report also allows the user to check the details of each individual discussion for a variety of data. This includes the depth of discussion, the number of threads, average reply time, and post density.

      The Country Report uses Moodle’s Country profile field to display how members from different cultures are participating. With our globalized world, intercultural communication is extremely important and being able to monitor forum activity by country can help instructors both recognize different cultural habits and act to ensure discussions are fairly balanced.


      • Project size: small/medium/large
      • Audience: primary schools, universities, workplaces
      • Target users: teachers, students, administrators


      Forums are a very powerful tool for students to construct knowledge when they are engaged in discussions. Instructors need to read student contributions, but especially in large courses, quantitative metrics of forum engagement can guide instructors to particular discussions that may need particular attention (e.g. lack of engagement, large engagement). Simple metrics such as word count and a number of replies are not sufficient for measuring engagement. The goal of the series of reports proposed is to create tools that allow instructors to monitor their students’ forum activity, quickly evaluate their engagement, and be able to direct their attention to discussions that may need it in a timely manner. 

      User Stories 

      User stories should be specific to each requirement and provide a clear view of what you want the improvement/new feature to accomplish.

      As a teacher, I should be able to know how my students are participating in forums. The depth of their interactions, the quantity of text and other multimedia they are using, how many people they are interacting with, who of my students are being active or being inactive in the forum and how often they have passively viewed the forums. If there are groups and groupings I would like to know which groups are active/inactive, the depth and breadth of interactions happening in the forum. When looking at individual discussions, I would like to be able to understand what discussions are active and why so data on what is in individual discussions is also important to me. Finally, if it is an international course, I would like to know which countries/cultures are most active and what kind of activity they are producing. I would also like to know if students are doing all this in a timely manner. Therefore I need reports that show:

      • Depth of students’ engagement at the discussion, post and reply levels
      • Number of students each student is interacting with
      • Number of active and inactive students
      • Details on the type of interactions (whether text, audio, image, video, other multimedia) that occur
      • An understanding of what groups are doing in each forum
      • An understanding of how different countries/cultures interact in forums
      • The times between posts in average or median for the “to” and “from” of students

      And I absolutely need filters for these. The page this report starts with should be a page with filters on it (forum, groups, groupings, date range, etc.) . I also need reports to work in a course that has both forums using separate groups and also forums that do not use groups. 

      As a student, I should be able to know my teacher has easy access to everything I do.

      As an admin, I should be able to give teachers the tools they need to do their work.

      As a researcher, I need the tools the teacher above has to understand what the participants in the research are doing. I need the information to be exported in various formats (groups, individual, etc)


      Here is a new proposed set of terms that I think is flexible enough for Moodle.

      There are two types of Forum ‘posts’:

      • New Discussion Posts
      • Reply Posts

      Total Posts = New Discussion Posts + Reply Posts

      • Discussion
      • The number of discussions this participant contributed to
      • Posts -> NDPosts
      • “New Discussion Posts”: The number of discussions this participant initiated
      • Replies
      • “Reply Posts”: The number of reply posts this participant added
      • Replies to seed -> “R2NDPost”
      • The number of reply posts that were replying to a new discussion post 
      • Reply Time(s) to -> 
      • The average time this student took to reply to other students’ posts (confirm w/ Nakahara-san)
      • Reply Time(s) from -> 
      • The average time it took for other students to reply to this student’s post (confirm w/ Nakahara-san)
      • Number of posts with zero replies
      • #L1 -> E#1
      • Engagement in threads ->The number of first posts by a participant in a thread
      • #L2 -> E#2
      • The number of second posts by a participant in a thread
      • #L3 -> E#3
      • The number of third posts by a participant in a thread
      • #L4 -> E#4
      • The number of fourth posts by a participant in a thread
      • Max E
      • The reply to a new discussion post is at depth 1. A reply to that post is depth 2, etc. The max depth is the deepest level of reply post a participant contributed. This can indicate a participant’s level of engagement.
      • Average E
      • The reply to a new discussion post is at depth 1. A reply to that post is depth 2, etc. The average depth is the average depth of the participant's contributed posts. This can indicate a participant’s level of engagement.
      • Word Count
      • The total word count by the participant
      • Views
      • The total number of posts by other participants that this participant viewed 
      • Multimedia
      • The total number of multimedia items this participant included. This includes images, files, and videos either through the HTML editor or the file attachment window. (basically a sum of #image, #video, and #audio)
      • #image
      • The total number of images this participant included. This includes any image file types either through the HTML editor or the file attachment window.
      • #video
      • The total number of videos this participant included. This includes any video file or links to YouTube etc either through the HTML editor or the file attachment window.
      • #audio
      • The total number of audio files this participant included. This includes: Any audio files
      • Participants
        • The total number of people who participated in each of the discussions with the individual.
      • Multinational
        • Based on the country in the profile. How many different countries there are in each of the discussions that the individual has participated in.


      Links to existing tracker issues, forum discussions, contrib plugins



      Code (in alpha): https://github.com/nakaharatt/moodle-report-discussion_metrics


      The basic requirements of this enhancement are to integrate the Discussion Forum Metrics reports into the course reporting in Core Moodle. Since the code has already been developed, just the integration into the core along with the "Moodle-izing" of the component to meet Moodle HQ coding standards will be required. 

      Further reading


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            Unassigned Unassigned
            tallthom Thom Rawson
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