Discussion Forums: General Information

Discussion forums have dozens of features that are designed to facilitate teaching and learning as well as reducing the amount of time required for instructors to manage discussion forums.

Some quick highlights:

  • Flexibility: Discussion setup is flexible. There are several view modes: Threaded, Nested, At a Glance, and Search. Discussions can be configured to meet a wide range of use cases, including housing all course-related discussions within a single discussion forum.
  • Usability: View and navigation filters allow users to quickly view and navigate between messages.
  • Management Ease: Inline grading (including quick replies), batch grading, and Search Mode make it easy to efficiently find and act on messages. At-a-Glance gives the instructor immediate perspective on the activity within a discussion.
  • Grading Power: Scoring rubrics allow instructors to create a score for a user based on his or her discussion participation and/or the scores achieved on individual posts.

A discussion forum is added on the Lessons tab. It also appears in the Discussion Forums component on the Communicate tab by default.

Discussion forum screen controls are located across the top of the discussion forum view. Navigation items in the bottom left of the forum changes based on your location within the forum.


Navigation menu above the discussion forum area

Navigation on the upper toolbar consists of the following:

  • New Post takes you to a new page where you can create a new top-level post in the forum.
  • View Modes let you switch between the four different discussion views.
  • Navigation Controls allow you to move between messages either one reply at a time ( > ) or one top-level post at a time ( >| ). Use the pull-down list to choose which type of messages to navigate.
  • Save navigation Settings saves a default navigation setting.
  • Print prints the exact view you have set within the post list area.
  • Refresh refreshes the message list to include any new messages that have been posted since you opened the discussion.
  • Directions displays the student instructions as entered by the instructor. The instructions may be collapsed or loaded in a new window to save space on the page.
  • Post List Controls let you manage the posts in the post list. They include:
    • [+] and [-] expand and collapse all threads within the discussion, respectively.
    • Post Title sorts posts by title. Sorts alphabetically by post; replies to each post are also sorted at each level of reply.
    • Flag sorts posts by flag value. Each flag color has a value of 0-9.
    • Score sorts posts and replies by instructor score.
    • Author sorts posts and replies by author.>
    • Date Posted sorts posts and replies by the date they were posted.
    • Replies sorts posts by the amount of replies.
    • Rating sorts posts and replies by their average peer rating.

Each message has a consistent set of options, no matter which view you choose. When you open a message, there are two main message option areas at the bottom of the area: an instructor-only pull-down list and a series of links for all users.

Instructor Options: The instructor's options appear in a pull-down list at the bottom left of every message.

  • Reject: Rejects the current message, setting its status to "rejected." This feature is available even in forums where moderation is turned off. Rejected messages can be viewed and their status changed via the Search view.
  • Move: Allows you to move a message to another location within the current forum.
  • Make Sticky: Marks a message as being "sticky." Sticky posts are sorted first and appear at the top of the forum; replies made sticky are listed first underneath their respective posts.
  • Lock: Prevents further replies from being added to the thread from that point forward.
  • Delete: Deletes the post. This delete command is a "soft delete." Instructors can view all deleted posts in Search View, and can undelete a post.

Options for all users:

  • Reply: Loads the reply screen so you can reply to the post.
  • Edit: If enabled, allows users to edit their posts.
  • Print: Prints the message.
  • Email author: Loads the mail interface so you can send mail to the post's author.
  • Delete: If enabled, allows users to delete their posts. Students cannot delete messages that have replies associated with them.
  • Mark as read: Check box for marking a post as having been read.


Discussion forum instructor options and options for all users in lower left corner

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