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.
You can personalise your Discussions settings.
- Click on Discussions link in the navigation bar.
- Click on Settings.
- There are two ways to view posts inside a topic: using Grid View or Reading View.
- If you modify any of the settings, click Save.
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.
In this view, the full text of every post always displays once you click on a thread.
Post a discussion message
- Click on Discussions link on the navigation bar.
- 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 button.
- 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.
- Enter the Subject of your message.
- Enter your Message.
- You can select to unsubscribe to your message.
- If you need to attach a file to your message, click Add a File.
- 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.
- 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
- Click on Discussions link in the navigation bar.
- On the Discussions List page, click New and select New Forum.
- 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.
- Enter text in the Description field, this will appear at the top of the discussion topic.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- On the Discussions List page, click New and select New Topic.
- Enter a Topic Title.
- Click Change Forum to change the forum where your topic will go, if necessary.
- To add your topic to your grade book, enter a value in the Grade Out Of field.
- Enter a Description for your topic.
- Click to expand the Availability Dates & Conditions menu.
- Enter a Start Date and End Date.
- Adjust the Before end and After end restrictions based on your preferences by clicking each option.
- 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. 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.
- Click Add Release Condition to create a new release condition or add an existing one. For more information regarding conditional release, see the Release conditions guide.
- Under Group and Section Restrictions, you can set different restrictions if you have Groups or Sections set up in your unit site. For more information on how to create groups, see the Groups guide.
- Click to expand the Post & Completion menu.
- Select the checkboxes for any of the following options to apply them to your discussion topic:
- Default participation
- Allow learners to hide their name from other learners
- Learners must start a thread before they can view or reply to other threads
- Posts must be approved before they display in the topic
- Click to expand the Evaluation & Feedback menu.
- Click Add Rubric to attach a rubric to your discussion topic if needed. Note: You must use this method to ensure that students are able to view the graded rubric through Grades tool.
- Select the Allow evaluation of individual posts checkbox if you want to assign scores to posts. Then, select your Calculation Method. You can also choose to Include unevaluated posts in the topic score calculation as zero.
- Select Allow learners to rate posts if you want your learners to score others’ posts. Then, select a rating type.
- Toggle the Visibility ON or OFF.
- Click Save and Close.
Grade a discussion
- Click on Discussions link in the navbar.
- Select Assess Topic from the context menu of the topic you’re going to grade.
- Click on Topic Score.
- Student’s postings are displayed on your left-hand panel.
- If you’ve attached a rubric to your discussions, you’re able to see the rubric on your right-hand panel.
- If you’re grading with rubric, it automatically transferred the score from rubric to Overall Grade.
If you select to use Allow evaluation 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.
- When you’ve finished grading, click Save Draft.
- Use the Next button to grade the next submissions.
- 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