The Discussions tool is organized by Discussions, Topics, and Conversations.
This article covers the process for creating a new Discussion.
Discussions are useful for grouping several similar topics together, such as graded discussions, or group topics. They can also be used to specify the default topic settings for all topics within the discussion. All new topics will inherit the discussion settings by default.
Select the Discussions tool from the Tool Menu.
By default, new sites are populated with a single discussion titled after the name of the site, and containing one topic for General Discussion. The default discussion and topic may be edited for posting messages, adding more topics to the existing discussion, or adding a new discussion.
Click New Forum to add a new discussion.
Discussion titles are required. Name the discussion a title to easily identify the types of topics expected within it. Remember that users post messages within topics, not discussions. Discussions are a grouping or classification of topics.
If desired, enter a description into the text box provided. The Short Description field only allows a maximum of 255 characters and does not allow formatting of text. This information is displayed to users when they view the Discussions tool.
To provide more detailed instructions about the items in this discussion, use the Description area to enter the information. This area includes the Rich Text Editor and allows for more advanced formatting options.
Optionally, you may attach files to the discussion. Click the Add attachments button to browse for and select a file.
There are several discussion posting options from which to choose. Remember, any settings selected here will apply to all of the topics within this discussion by default. (However, these may be overridden by the settings on an individual topic if desired.)
The default option is to Show Immediately, or you can choose to Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide).
Tip: Setting open and close dates at the discussion level can be tricky because individual topics may also have specified dates. However, the discussion must be visible in order for the topics within the discussion to be available to students. Typically, instructors set open/close dates at the topic level only.
The default option is unchecked, allowing the user to mark each post as read after reading. Selecting this option will mark all messages within a conversation, or thread, as read.
When grading discussion posts, select a specific Gradebook item for the grades to be included in the Gradebook calculations.
Note: You must first create the Gradebook item in Gradebook tool before you can select it to be associated with a discussion or topic.
Tip: Similar to open/close dates, associating with the Gradebook at the discussion level is not always ideal because individual topics may also be graded. Faculty may prefer to grade discussions at the topic level.
In most cases, the default discussion permissions are appropriate. By default, instructors are discussion Owners, and all other site participants are Contributors. The discussion owner may add and delete topics, modify permissions, edit the discussion and topic descriptions, etc. Contributors may only read, post, and reply to messages.
To modify the default permissions, click Customize to expand the permission settings.
Note: Groups must already exist in order for group role permissions to display.
Once completed, scroll to the bottom of the page and select the Save button. (Alternately, if you would like to go directly to the screen to begin adding a new topic to the forum you just created, you may select Save Settings & Add Topic instead.)
Note: All discussions need at least one topic in order to be active.