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CloudDeakin Guides

Discussions

Discussions allow participants to discuss aspects of the unit with other students and staff teaching the unit.

The Discussions tool is a learner engagement space (or communication and collaboration space) where you and your students can read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about unit materials, ask questions and share files.

Before you create a discussion topic, you must create at least one forum. You can use forums to organise your discussion topics in categories. Discussion topics do not stand alone, but are categorised into Forums. A Forum can contain any number of discussion topics. For example: in a unit with three assessments, an Assessment Forum could contain three discussion topics, one per assessment.

Settings

You can personalise your Discussions settings.

  1. Click on Discussions link in the Site navigation bar.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. There are two ways to view posts inside a topic: using Grid View or Reading View.
  4. If you modify any of the settings, click Save.

Grid view

In this view, a list of posts appears at the top of the page, showing the subject, author, and date for each post.

Note: The Reading View is the only available view if you access a post via the Content tool.

The following threading styles are available:

  • Threaded: Groups posts together with their replies.
  • Unthreaded: Sorts posts by author, date, subject, Post ID, or average rating.

The following display settings are available:

  • Show the preview pane: Select this setting to open all posts in a preview pane, or clear it to open all posts in pop-up windows.
  • Show the search bar: Use the search bar to search for posts. You can also show or hide the search bar by clicking Show Search or Hide Search from the More Actions button inside a topic.

Reading view

In this view, the full text of every post always displays once you click on a thread.

Post a discussion message

  1. Click on Discussions link on the navigation bar.
  2. If you are presented with a list of topics, click on the required topic to view the message(s) in that topic.
    a. To post a new discussion message, click the Start a New Thread button.
    b. To reply to a particular message within a topic, go to the desired message, then click the Reply to Thread button.
  3. If the discussion topic is created as group topic, select the group where you wish to post your message from Post Thread to dropdown list.
  4. Enter the Subject of your message.
  5. Enter your Message.
  6. You can select to unsubscribe to your message.
  7. If you need to attach a file to your message, click Add a File.
  8. Here you can drag and drop files from your computer into the upload target area. If this function is not available in your browser, click Upload and select the file then click on Open. If you have set your viewing method to Grid View, click Add to attach files.
  9. Click Post to post the message.

For more information about how to read, subscribe, flag, search and print refer to the Discussions of student help guide.

Create a new forum

  1. Click on Discussions link in the navigation bar.
  2. On the Discussions List page, click New and select New Forum.
  3. Enter a Title for the forum.
  4. If you want to automatically create a topic, select the Create a new topic in this forum with the same title check box.
  5. Enter text in the Description field, this will appear at the top of the discussion topic.
  6. Choose the required forum Options.
    • Allow Anonymous Posts: Checking this option will allow anonymous messages to be posted to topics created within this forum. Anonymous messages are displayed with the message author ‘Anonymous’ in the Message List. Note that anonymous messages cannot be evaluated.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic.
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they displaye in the forum: Checking this option will require messages posted to topics created within this forum to be approved before they are displayed to all users.
    • Display forum description in topics.
  7. From the Restrictions tab, the previous Locking Options are now consolidated with the Availability Start Date and End Date options and display as the following new options:
    • Visible with access restricted before/after start/end. The forum is visible to students before/after the start/end date, but they cannot access it.  
    • Visible with submission restricted before/after start/end. The forum is visible to students before/after the start/end date and they can access it, but they cannot post new threads or replies. This effectively makes a discussion read-only. Previously, this was accomplished with the lock option or unlock dates.  
    • Hidden before/after start/end. The forum is hidden from students until the start/end date. This is a new feature. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends are hidden until the start/end date. Notifications are also not sent until the start/end date. 
  8. Click Save to save the forum, or Save and Add Topic to save the forum and create a new topic within it.

Create a new topic

  1. On the Discussions List page, click New and select New Topic.
  2. Select the Forum in which the topic needs to be created from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the Topic Type:

a. Open topic: use this option for discussions topic that is available to all students. You can also use this option for group discussions with Group Restrictions under the Restrictions tab.


b. Group or section topic: this option is best for group discussions. That is one discussion topic is created for an entire group and posts within it are associated with specific groups. Teaching staff can use the All Groups filter on the topic to view all posts or to only view posts for a specific group.

Students only see threads from their own group.
Note: Once you’ve created and saved the topic, you cannot change the topic type.

  1. Enter a Title for the topic.
  2. Enter a Description in the HTML editor (this will appear at the top of the topic while students are composing their messages).
  3. Choose the required Options.
  4. From the Restrictions tab, the previous Locking Options are now consolidated with the Availability Start Date and End Date options and display as the following new options:
    • Visible with access restricted before/after start/end. The topic is visible to students before/after the start/end date, but they cannot access it.
    • Visible with submission restricted before/after start/end. The topic is visible to students before/after the start/end date and they can access it, but they cannot post new threads or replies. This effectively makes a discussion read-only. Previously, this was accomplished with the lock option or unlock dates.
    • Hidden before/after start/end. The topic is hidden from students until the start/end date. This is a new feature. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends are hidden until the start/end date. Notifications are also not sent until the start/end date.
  5. For more topic options such as Release Conditions and Group Restrictions.
    a. Release Conditions: Click Create and Attach or Attach Existing to add release conditions to your Discussion topic. For more information regarding conditional release, see the Release conditions guide.
    b. Group Restrictions: While you can use Group Restrictions here, it is easier to create Group-restricted discussion topics using the Groups Tool. To restrict access to specific groups or sections, tick beside Restrict this topic to the following groups. Then click Add Groups to select the groups or sections that should have access to the topic. For more information on how to create groups, see the Groups guide.
  6. If you wish to have a grade and/or rubric attach to the discussions topic, follow the steps below:
    a. Click on Assessment tab and click on New Grade Item.
    b. From the pop-up window, enter a Name and Max Points.
    c. If you wish to attach rubric, click Add Rubric. From the list of rubrics, select the rubric that you wish to use and click Add Selected.
    Note: You must use this method to ensure that students are able to view the graded rubric through Grades tool.
    d. Click Save.
    e. Enter Score Out Of.
    f. Click Save and Close.

Grade a discussion

  1. Click on Discussions link in the navbar.
  2. Select Assess Topic from the context menu of the topic you’re going to grade.
  3. Click on Topic Score.
  4. Student’s postings are displayed on your left-hand panel.
  5. If you’ve attached a rubric to your discussions, you’re able to see the rubric on your right-hand panel.
  6. If you’re grading with rubric, it automatically transferred the score from rubric to Overall Grade.
    If you select to use “Allow assessment of individual posts” check box when creating the discussion, you’ll need to enter score for each of the posts. Overall Grade is based on your calculation method.
  7. When you’ve finished grading, click Save Draft.
  8. Use the Next button to grade the next submissions.
  9. When you’re ready to publish all the feedback and grades, go to the Assess Topic page and select all the students and click on Publish Feedback
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