I have developed two custom Moodle modules to support the small-group construction of knowledge as formative activities:
– the Participation Forum : this custom forum activity automatically sets up “semi-private” areas for discussions by small groups of students, appends detailed task design instructions, and automatically generates a rating of participation based on the level of activity by each student.
– the Participation Map : this learning analytic tool creates a visualization “map” of the student participation and interaction in the forum discussions, and generates basic statistics at the group and class level. It can create maps based on both native Moodle forums and the custom Participation Forum.
Both of these tools are available as free open-source downloads under the GNU General Public license, and can be installed on any Moodle server installation from version 2.0 to 3+ (latest stable release).