No worries, Danny - don't feel stupid, you'll be a pro with Moodle in no time at all!
Mary has a good suggestion about the possibility that you may have accidentally "docked" your settings block. From the student perspective, the Settings block is on the right side in your Volcano course:
"Docking" and "minmizing" are user-specific (tied to a user's profile). This means that if I, as a student, dock or minimize the Settings block, it doesn't affect your choice/settings or any other student.
But, since a student can't usually move a block to a new location in a course site, I'd venture to suggest that, if you haven't docked your Settings block, it might be sitting in the right-hand column as it is in the image above.
But, hey, kudos are in order! I see you've successfully added a forum to which the student can reply!