1) Students and teachers communicate directly in class for much feedback, so the email is an extra convenience but not necessary.
2) Many students receive email on their mobile phones and are billed for receive each one. Receiving a large batch of emails can be quite expensive.
Do not force them to be member of a forum, let them the choice to subscribe..
For journals I do not see a solution, but there I see the value of being informed and that will not be that often.
I am finding that almost all of my Moodle site users end up subscribing by accident -- when they post messages to the forums, they don't read the pop-up menu that causes them to subscribe. So then they start getting the e-mails and they are upset with me. I think there is a bit of a UI issue there, but I can't for the life of me figure out why or what to do about it...
Reading on a screen: we know for twenty years that when you place a long text on the screen, ending with "press here for next page", they only will read...
There is even a teacher training version of this:
Give all the participants - yes, teachers!!- a piece of paper.
The first sentence on the paper: "READ FIRST THE COMPLETE LIST"
Then follows a list with all kind of idiot tasks to do, like: jump on your chair, shout "Moodle"etc..
The last task on the sheet is: "If you read the complet list with all these stupid commands, you now know that you do not have to do these things, because you first read to the end of the paper."
Now, the next problem is, when the users are creating their accounts, the default setting of "Forum auto-subscribe" is "Yes" - hardly anyone changes it. You can prevent this by editing your database - in mdl_user table, change the default value of autosubscribe to 0. This will solve the problem for new accounts - by default they will not be auto-subscribed.
Hope this helps,
Now, when students reply in forums, they are automatically subscribed to that forum. How do we set the default to "i don't want email copies of this sent to me".
I've made this change on my site, so I'll cross my fingers and see what happens.