Discussions

The Discussions tool is a communication tool that can be used to enhance a course site. This feature is similar to a chat, but is designed for asynchronous use, users are not present at the same time to converse online.

 

Creating Discussion Forums

Participating in Discussions

Subscribing to Discussions

Grading Discussions

Accessing Discussions 

To open the Grades tool, click on the “Evaluation” link group in the default course NavBar and then select Discussions.

 

Creating Discussion Forums

Before your students can post to a discussion you must first create both a Forum and a Topic. Forums act as categories and Topics act as Prompts. Students cannot post to a Forum; they can only post to a topic within a Forum.

Creating a Forum

  1. Navigate to the Discussions Tool
  2. Click New, and then select New Forum from the drop-down menu.
  3. Enter a title (required).
  4. Enter a description (optional).
  5. Click Save and Close at the bottom of the page.

Creating a Topic

  1. Navigate to the Discussions Tool
  2. Click New, and then select New Topic from the drop-down menu
  3. Select a Forum (required)
    • If you have already created the Forum in which you want to add a Topic, select it from the “Forum” drop-down menu.
    • If you want to create a new Forum for your Topic, click New Forum
  4. Enter a title (required).
  5. Enter a description (optional).
  6. Select options for the Topic (optional):
    • Allow anonymous posts: This option allows students to anonymously post to the Topic.
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic: This option requires you to approve posts before students are able to view them
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads: This option requires students to post to the topic before they can read and reply to other students’ posts.
  7. Select a ratings option (optional) :
    • No Ratings (default): all ratings controls are disabled.
    • Five-Star Rating Scheme: students can assign each post a score from zero to five.
    • Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme: students can vote to increase or decrease a post's rating.
    • Up Vote Only Rating Scheme: students can vote to increase a post's rating (but they cannot vote to decrease it.)
  8. Click Save and Close at the bottom of the page.

Edit an Existing Forum or Topic

  1. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Forum or Topic you would like to edit, and select Edit Forum or Edit Topic , depending on which one you are editing.
  2. Click Save and Close when you are done making changes to the forum or topic.  

 

Participating in Discussions

You can participate in discussions by posting a new thread or by replying to another user’s thread. A thread is the initial response to the topic.

Post a New Thread

  1. Click the title of the Topic
  2. Click the Start a New Thread button
  3. Enter a Subject
  4. Enter a Message
    • If you want your thread to be the top post in the Topic, select Pin Thread.
    • If you want to receive notifications when updates are made to this thread, keep Subscribe to this Thread selected.
    • If you want to attach a file to the message, click Add Attachments.
  5. Click Post.

Reply to a Thread

  1. Click on the title of the user’s thread to which you’d like to reply.
  2. Click Reply to Thread .
  3. Enter your reply in the message field.
    • Click Add Attachments if you want to attach a file to the message.
  4. Click Post

Subscribing to Discussions

When you subscribe to a Forum or Topic, you will receive an email notification when students post to it. You can alter the method and frequency of your notifications. Subscribing to a Forum will subscribe you to all Topics within that Forum.

Note: By default, you will automatically be subscribed to threads you post.

Manually Subscribe to a Forum or Thread

  1. Navigate to the Discussion tool
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next to the title of the Forum or Topic to which you would like to subscribe.
  3. Click Subscribe on the drop-down menu.
  4. The Customize Notifications dialog box will open.
  5. Select a notification frequency option:
    • Show notifications in minibar only: receive no email notifications, but have alerts for new posts show up in D2L.
    • Send me an instant notification: receive a separate email notification as each student posts a thread.
    • Include in my summary of activity: receive a daily summary of all posts to a Forum or Topic.
  6. Click Subscribe.

Unsubscribing from a Forum or Topic.

To unsubscribe from a Forum or Topic, click the drop-down arrow next to its title, and select Unsubscribe

Grading Discussions

Assessing discussion topics allows you to enter a numeric score and provide feedback to your students. In order to assess a discussion, you must first set up the topic for assessment. You also have the option to export the grades and feedback to the gradebook. Follow these steps to set up your discussion for assessment.

Set Up a Topic for Assessment

  1. Navigate to the Discussion tool
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Topic you want to assess, and click Edit Topic.
  3. Click the Assessment tab.
  4. Select a Grade item:
    • If you want the Topic to be linked to a Grade item you have already created, select the item from the “Grade Item” drop-down list.
    • If you want to create a new Grade item for the Topic, click New Grade Item.
  5. Enter the maximum points assigned to the Topic in the “Score Out Of” field.
  6. Click Save and Close.

Assign Scores and Provide Feedback

  1. Navigate to the Discussion tool
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next to the topic you want to assess, and click Assess Topic.
  3. Click Topic Score under the name of the student whose posts you want to assess. This window displays all posts made by a student within a particular topic.
  4. Enter the number of points you want to assign to the student’s posts in the Topic Score field.
  5. Select Published (optional). You’ll only see this box if the topic is linked to a grade item.
  6. Enter feedback on the student’s post (optional).
  7. Click Save and Close. To return to the “Assess Topic” page.

Note: If your discussion topic is linked to a grade item, the student list on the “Assess Topic” page will include an additional column, “Publish to Grades.” You can select the checkboxes in this column to publish an individual student’s score to the Grades area, or if you want to publish all of the students’ scores to the Grades area, click Publish All Scores to Grades at the top of the page.