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Creating and Setting up Discussions

Table of Contents

Creating Discussion Forums and Topics

Before you create a discussion topic you must create at least one Forum. You can use forums to organize your discussion topics into categories.

Your course can include as many Topics organized into Forums as you would like. Topics are where discussions actually take place, where users post and read messages, but each Topic must belong to a Forum.

Create a New Forum

  1. On the Forums & Topics List page, click New forum New Forum on the top tool menu.
    New Forum screenshot
  2. Enter a Title for the forum.
  3. If you want to automatically create a topic with the same name, select the Create a new Topic in this Forum with the same title check box.
  4. If you want to create a description, enter it in the Description field.
  5. Select any desired Options(Optional):
    • Select the Allow anonymous messages check box if you would like to 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.
    • Select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box if you would like to require messages posted to topics created within this forum to be approved before they are displayed to all users in the Message List.
  6. Click the Show forum visibility options link to set the Availability for this forum.
  7. Set any other options (see Setting Options) you want and click Save to save the forum, or Save & Add Topic to save the forum and create a new topic within it.
    Create Forum screenshot

Create a New Topic

  1. On the Forums & Topics List page, click New Topic New Topic on the top tool menu, or on the Forum in which you want to create the Topic.
    New Topic screenshot
  2. In the Forum drop-down list, select the forum in which you want to create the topic, or create a new forum by clicking the New Forum link.
  3. Enter a Title for the topic.
  4. Enter a Description
    • Depending on your discussions settings, topic descriptions might be displayed in the message list where users read and post messages. If this setting is enabled, you should keep descriptions short and avoid using large images.
  5. Select any desired Options(Optional):
    • Select the Allow anonymous messages check box if you would like to allow anonymous messages to be posted to this topic. Anonymous messages are displayed with the message author 'Anonymous' in the Message List.
    • Select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box if you would like to require messages posted to this topic be approved before they are displayed to all users in the Message List.
      Create Topic screenshot
  6. Set the Visibility:
    • Topic is always visible (users can see topic and posts)
    • Hide this topic (users cannot see topic or posts)
    • Topic is visible for a specific date range:
      • Select the Has Start Date check box and set a start date and time
      • Select the Has End Date check box and set a start date and time
      • Select the Display in Schedule check box to display this topic in the schedule
  7. Set the Locking Options:
    • Unlock topic (users can post)
    • Lock topic (users cannot post, but can see posts)
    • Unlock topic for a specific date range:
      • Select the Has Start Date check box and set a start date and time
      • Select the Has End Date check box and set a start date and time
      • Select the Display in Schedule check box to display this topic in the schedule
  8. Click Save to save the topic, or Save and New to save the topic and create another one.
    Topic options and save screenshot

Link a Discussion Topic to a Content Module

  1. First, you must have created Discussion Modules & Topics in the Discussions tool.
  2. Go to Content and locate or create a Module where you would like to place a link to a discussion topic.
  3. Click the add topic Add Topic icon located to the right of the Module title.
  4. Select the Quicklink topic link.
  5. Type a Title that describes what this link will do - "Week 2 Discussions" or "Click here for Week 2 Discussions."
  6. Select quick link icon Quicklink icon located to the right of the URL box.
    Quick Link icon screenshot
  7. Next to Category, click the down arrow and select Discussions.
    insert quicklink
  8. Under Link Details, click the down arrow and select a Topic under a Module.insert link
  9. Click Insert.
  10. The link to the discussion topic will display in the Module.

Instructor View

instructor view

Student View

student view

When the students click on the "Sample link to discussions," they will be taken to that specific topic in the Discussions area.

Setting Options for Forums and Topics

The following settings are available when you create a new forum or topic. Any settings you apply to a forum apply to all the forum’s topics; for example, if you have several topics in which you want to allow anonymous messages, you can put these topics in a single forum and enable anonymous messages for that forum.

To Do this
Enable users to post messages anonymously Select Allow anonymous messages. Note that you cannot evaluate anonymous messages.
Require messages to be approved Select Messages must be approved before being displayed.
Hide the forum In the Availability section:
  • To hide the forum, select Hide this forum. It remains hidden until you select Forum is always visible is selected again.
  • To make the forum visible within a date range, select Forum is visible for a specific date range and specify a Start Date when the forum becomes visible and/or an End Date when it is hidden again.
Lock the forum If the options in the Locking options section are not visible, click Show locking options, then do one of the following:
  • To the lock the forum when it is created, select Lock forum. It will remain locked until Unlock forum is selected again.
  • To open the forum within a date range, select Unlock forum for a specific date range and specify a Start Date when the forum is unlocked and/or an End Date when it is locked again.

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