Discussions

Mobile SupportedDiscussions 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 3 discussion topics, one per assessment.

Post a discussion message

  1. Click on Collaborate then click on Discussions link on the navbar.
  2. If you are presented with a list of topics, click on the required topic to view the message(s) in that topic.
    1. To post a new discussion message, click the Start a New Thread button.
    2. To reply to a particular message within a topic, go to the desired message, then click the Reply to Thread button.
  3. Enter the Subject of your message.
  4. Enter your Message.
  5. You can select to unsubscribe to your message.
  6. If you need to attach a file to your message, click Add attachments.
  7. 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.
  8. Click Post to post the message.

Create a new forum and topic

Create a new forum

  1. Click on Collaborate then click on Discussions link in the Navbar.
  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 Messages: 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.
    • Messages must be approved before being displayed: Checking this option will require messages posted to topics created within this forum to be approved before they are displayed to all users in the Message List.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic
  7. Availability
    • To hide a Forum, select the option Hide this forum. This will ensure that the forum is hidden till the Forum is always visible option is chosen.
    • To choose a specific date range, select Forum is visible for a specific date range, then tick Has Start Date and select the date and time from when the Forum should be visible. To select the End Date, tick the Has End Date box and select the end date.
      Note: You can use the Now button to choose the current Date and Time.
  8. Locking Options
    • To lock the forum when it is created, select Lock forum. Students can no longer post until Unlock forum is selected again.
    • To choose a specific date range, select Unlock forum for a specific date range, then tick Has Start Date and select the date and time from when the Forum should be locked. To select the End Date, tick the Has End Date box and select the end date.
      Note: You can use the Now button to choose the current Date and Time.
  9. 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. Enter a Title for the topic
  4. Enter a Description in the HTML editor (this will appear at the top of the topic while students are composing their messages)
  5. Choose the required Options.
  6. Availability
    • To hide a Topic, select the option Hide this topic. This will ensure that the topic is hidden till the Topic is always visible option is chosen.
    • To choose a specific date range, select Topic is visible for a specific date range, then tick Has Start Date and select the date and time from when the topic should be visible. To select the End Date, tick the Has End Date box and select the end date.
      Note: You can use the Now button to choose the current Date and Time.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads.
  7. Locking Options
    • To lock a Topic when it is created, select Lock topic. Students can no longer post until Unlock topic is selected again.
    • To choose a specific date range, select Unlock topic for a specific date range, then tick Has Start Date and select the date and time from when the Topic should be locked. To select the End Date, tick the Has End Date box and select the end date.
      Note: You can use the Now button to choose the current Date and Time.
  8. Click Save to save the topic, or Save and New to save the topic and create a new topic.
  9. Click the Restrictions tab for more topic options such as Release Conditions and Group Restrictions
    • 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.
    • 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.
  10. If you wish to have a grade and/or rubric attach to the discussions topic, follow the steps below:
    • Click on Assessment tab and click on New Grade Item.
    • From the pop-up window, enter a Name and Max Points.
    • 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.
    • Click Save.
    • Enter Score Out Of.
    • Click Save and Close.

Grade a discussion

  1. Click on Collaborate and select 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 and scroll to bottom to read student's postings.
  4. Enter a score under Topic Score and tick the Graded box.
  5. Click Save.

Grade a discussion using rubric

  1. Click on Assessment then Grades.
  2. Click on the dropdown list of the grade item you've created for your discussions and select Enter Grades.
  3. To view students' posting, click the discussion icon under Submission (open as a new pop-up window). Enter the Topic Score manually once you've graded the rubric. Remember to click Save.
  4. Click on the rubric icon under Activities column to access using rubric (open as a new pop-up window).
  5. When done, click Save.
  6. Repeat step 3 to 5 for all students in your class.
  7. When you've finished grading all discussions, click Save.

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