Discussions

The Discussions tool is a collaboration area for you and your students. You can set up discussions to allow students to post, read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with their peers on assignments and homework. To access the discussions tool click the Connect menu on your course navbar and select Discussions.


Creating a Discussion
Before you create a discussion topic you must create at least one Discussion Forum. You can use forums to organize your discussion topics in categories.

Your course can include as many topics as you like, organized into forums. Topics are where discussions actually take place, where users post and read messages, but each topic must belong to a forum.

Before you create a Discussion Forum and associated Topics you may want to consider the type of Discussion Forum and Topic that will best suit the needs of your course.

Types of Discussions

Discussion Forums and Topics with no restrictions are visible to all users in a course.

Group Discussions are Forums with Topics restricted to groups within your course. You will need to create a Topic for each group in your course. Group Discussions can also be created when you create your groups, these topics will automatically be restricted to the corresponding groups. For more information on creating Group Discussions from the Groups area of the course please see the Groups documentation.

Moderated Discussion Forums require all messages to be approved by the instructor/teaching assistant before they will be visible to other members of the course.

Post First Discussions are Discussions that are not visible to students until after the student has posted to the discussion.

Anonymous Discussions are Discussions that do not identify the poster of the message.

Creating Forums and Topics

Create a new forum

  • On the Discussions List page, click New and select New Forum from the drop down menu.

image of the new discussions page

  • Enter a Title for the forum.
  • If you want to automatically create a topic, select the Create a new topic in this forum with the same title check box.
  • If you want to create a description, enter it in the Description field.
  • Set any forum options you want and click Save, Save and Close to save the forum, or Save & Add Topic to save the forum and create a new topic within it.

image of the new discussion options with a red box around the available options

Create a new topic

  • On the Discussions List page, select the down arrow to the right of the Discussion Forum Title to select Add Topic
  • Enter a Title for the Topic
  • Select the appropriate options for the type of discussion you are creating (Allow anonymous posts, A moderator must approve before being displayed, or Users must start a thread before participating in the topic).
  • Set your Topic Availability and Locking options or check the Display in Calendar option.

     availability page       Locking options page
  • Set the topic options you want and click Save to save the topic, Save and New to save the topic and create another one, Save and Close or Cancel.

Copying Forums and or Topics

To Copy a Discussion Forum or Topic select the More Actions drop down menu and choose Copy. This will take you to the Copy Forums and Topics page.

image of the copy forum menu with a red arrow pointing to the copy link


From the Copy Forums and Topics page choose Copy a Forum, you will be directed to a new page where you can Choose the Forum you would like to copy.

image of the copy page


Enter the title of the New Forum, select the Copy topics check box if you are also copying the Topics associated with the Forum. If you have pinned a message to any of the Topics you are copying, also select Copy pinned messages before you select Copy.

From the Copy Forums and Topics page choose Copy a Topic. You will be directed to a new page where you can Choose the Forum the topics you would like to copy are associated with. Choose the Topic to Copy from the drop down menu then enter the title of the New Topic Title, choose the Destination Forum you want the topics associated with. If you have pinned a message to any of the topics you are copying, and want to copy the pinned message as well, also select Copy pinned messages before you select Copy.


image of the copy topic page          

Reordering Forums and Topics

To reorder your Forums and Topics select Reorder from the More Actions drop down menu.

image of the re-order pages

Change the corresponding number in the Sort Order to determine the new order of the Forums and Topics and Save.

Restricting Forums and Topics

There are many options and criteria that can be used to restrict a Discussion Forum and/or Topic. For more information on these options please see the Release Conditions documentation.

Deleting Forums and Topics

To delete a Forum or Topic select the down arrow to the right of the Forum or Topic title and select Delete from the available options.

image of the dropdown menu with an arrow pointing to the delete link

You will then be presented with a pop-up window asking you to confirm the deletion of the Forum or Topic.

image of the delete confirmation pop-up window

Note: All messages associated with the Forum or Topic you are deleing will also be deleted.

Restoring deleted Forums or Topics

To restore a deleted Forum or Topic, select the More Actions button and choose Restore from the available options.

image of the restore menu with a red arrow pointing to the restore option

You will be taken to a new page with a list of all Forums and Topics that have been deleted from the course. Click the Restore button to the right of the Forum you would like to restore.

Click the Restore Topic and Forum confirmation button to complete the restoration of the Forum and or Topic.

image of the restore page with a red box around the restore buttons

Grading Forums and Topics

To Grade a Discussion Topic you must first associate the topic with a Grade item. For more information on creating Grade items see the Grades documentation.

image of the assessement tab of a topic

To associate a Discussion Topic with a Grade Item select the appropriate grade item from the Grade Item drop down menu. Add a Score Out of and choose Save, Save and Close, or Save and New.

Assessing a discussion post

image of the discussion with a red arrow pointed at the assessment icon

Below the Discussion Topic Title you will see an icon of a Ruler with a Checkmark. This indicates topics that can be assessed. From the down arrow to the right of the Topic title you will now see an Assess Topic option. This will open a new window where you can enter a Topic Score and any Feedback. If you want the score and feedback available immediately check the Publish this saves and return to the Assess topic page.

assessment page

To publish the Topic scores and Feedback for all students select Publish All Feedback and Save and Close.

assessment page

Composing, Reading, Replying and Deleting Messages

Composing Messages

To Compose a Message and Post to a Discussion Topic select the Topic you are posting to by clicking on the Topic title from the Discussions List page and select Start a New Thread.

image of the discussion topic with a red box around the New thread button

This will open a Compose window where you can add the subject line of your message and compose your message, Add a File or Record Audio. If this message is important and you want it to remain at the top of the Discussion Topic list you can select Pin Message to keep it at the top and subscribe to this thread.

Reading Messages

To Read Messages posted to a Discussion Topic click the title of the Discussion Topic you want to read. This will take you into the Discussion Topic where you will see messages that have been posted. If the full message is not displaying on your screen, click the more option in the message window.

image of the forum thread with a red arrow pointing to the more option in the thread

Depending on the Discussion Topic View you have set you will see the option to Mark individual messages as Read or Mark all Read

Replying to Messages

Select the message you want to reply to by clicking the Reply link for the message. As with composing a message you will also have the option to Add a File or Record Audio before posting your reply by clicking Post.

Deleting Messages

To delete a message posted by yourself or another user in the course select the More Actions link for the specific message you are deleting. Clicking the More actions link will reveal a number of new icons.

Select Delete Thread to delete the message. 

Subscribing to Forums and Topics

To subscribe to a Discussion Forum or Topic select the down arrow to the right of the Forum or Topic and select Subscribe. A new window will open allowing you to set your notification. From this window you can determine the notification frequency by choosing either to include the notifications for this Topic in your mini bar only, summary of activity or as an Instant notification, click Subscribe.

image of the custom notification window pop-up


Discussion Settings

For more information regarding Discussion and other Account settings please see the Account Setting Documentation.