Create a Discussion Forum

To add a discussion forum to the course Lessons tab:

  1. Within the course, select the Lessons tab.
  2. Select the Add Content link in the toolbar.
  3. Select the Discussion Forum link. The New Discussion Forum screen appears.

Screen capture. New Discussion Forum screen.
New Discussion Forum screen

On the Content Tab

  1. Enter a Title for the discussion forum.
  2. Optionally enter a Subtitle. The subtitle is used to provide additional information concerning the content item.
  3. Optionally enter text in the Directions field.

    Note: You can use the HTML editor toolbar to add or edit formatting to the text. For detailed information on using the HTML editor, reference the Use the HTML Editor help topic.

  4. The Link Target pull-down menu allows you to select how the discussion forum will open in a browser.

On the Access Tab

Screen capture. Discussion forum Access tab.
Discussion forum Access tab

  1. User Tracking is an optional setting and is used to track when users view or access a content item. To track student access, select Students Only from the pull-down menu.
  2. If users are not allowed to view the content item, select the Do not allow users to view this item check box.
  3. By default, Viewable By is set to Students. To hide the discussion forum from students, e.g., if you are creating content that will not be used until later in the course, set Viewable By to users with higher rights, such as Course Editors.
  4. Optionally specify a Password to restrict access to the discussion forum.
  5. Team Access is set to All Teams by default. If you have created course teams, you can optionally restrict access to a particular team or teams by selecting Selected Teams from the pull-down menu, then checking the box next to each desired team.

On the Post Permissions Tab

Screen capture. Discussion forum Post Permissions tab.
Discussion forum Post Permissions tab

  1. By default, all teams are granted read, new post, and reply permissions. You can clear the default post permissions by selecting the Default check boxes. The team post permissions are:
    • Read: indicates that the team members can read all posts.
    • New Post: indicates that the team members can create new posts.
    • Reply: indicates that the team members can reply to all posts.
  2. Select the specific permission, per team, by selecting the corresponding read, new post, and reply check boxes.

On the Interaction Tab

The Interaction tab sets the majority of the discussion-specific values for this content type.

Screen capture. Discussion forum Interaction tab.
Discussion forum Interaction tab

  1. Use the Mode pull-down list to switch the discussion between different usage modes. Select one of the following options:
    • Normal Discussion: All students may access and participate fully in discussion.
    • Private User Journal: Student posts and instructor replies are only visible to the student and the instructor.
    • Private Team Journal: Posts by team members and instructor replies are only visible to team members and instructors.
    • Fishbowl Mode: Select students or teams to participate in discussion while other selected students or teams may only view discussion.
    • Hot Seat Mode: Students or teams in the hot seat read and reply to topics posted by other students or teams, but may not post new topics themselves.
    • Post First: Users must first post a topic before they are allowed to view or reply to other students' posted topics.
  2. Use the Discussion Views pull-down list to set the students' default view of the discussion. Select one of the following options:
    • Threaded View: Message subject lines are presented in hierarchical view. Clicking on message subject lines presents messages one at a time.
    • Nested View: Message subject lines and full body text are presented in a hierarchical view. All message bodies are downloaded when the discussion is launched.

      Note: If you want to allow students to change their view, leave the Allow users to switch between views check box to the right of the pull-down list checked.

  3. In the Maximum Instructor Rating Score box, enter a maximum point value available for each post. Setting a maximum allows the system to calculate and display points earned versus points possible during the grading process.
  4. By default, the Allow Attachments check box is checked, allowing students to attach files to their discussion posts. Uncheck it if you do not wish to allow attachments.
  5. The Anonymous Posts pull-down list lets you determine whether students can optionally post anonymous messages, or if all posts are anonymous.
  6. Use the New Topic Posts pull-down list to set the minimum rights level required to post a new top-level topic within a discussion. For example, you can use this option to control top-level topics and force students to respond to given topics instead of creating their own.
  7. Leave the Student Post Edit check box checked if you want to allow students to edit or delete their own posts. Students cannot delete their posts if replies have been posted to them.
  8. Leave the Enable User Profiles check box checked to allow users to view profiles of other users.
  9. Leave the Peer Rating check box checked to allow students to rate the value of other students' posts on a five-point scale. Students can change their votes, but only their last vote is used in the average rating calculation.
  10. Check any or all of the Show/Hide Fields check boxes to determine which fields will appear in the discussion interface. By default, all fields are displayed.

On the Actions Tab

There are no features active on the Actions tab for discussion forums in the Normal settings mode. To view advanced features of the Actions tab, select the Advanced radio button above the tabs.

For more information on the Actions tab, reference the Lesson Item Settings: Actions Tab help topic.

On the Assignment Tab

Screen capture. Discussion forum Assignment tab.
Discussion forum Assignment tab

  1. If you wish the discussion forum to be a milestone, from the Task Type pull-down menu, select whether the milestone will be marked as complete by the instructor manually (Manually Marked) or automatically by ANGEL when a student has accessed the discussion forum (Item Completion). For more information on Milestone Settings, reference the Lesson Item Settings: Common Milestone Settings Fields help topic.
  2. If you wish the discussion forum to be a gradebook assignment, select the applicable setting from the Assignment pull-down menu. For more information on Gradebook Settings, reference the Lesson Item Settings: Common Gradebook Settings Fields help topic.

    Note: For detailed documentation on the course gradebook, reference the Gradebook help category. For best results, do not add any assignments to the course gradebook; until you have first gone through the Gradebook Setup Wizard to set up your categories and grading scheme.

  3. If you wish to apply a grading rubric that you have previously created on the course Manage tab, select it from the Grading rubric pull-down menu. You can preview it, if desired, by clicking the Preview button. Optionally select the check box beside Display rubric to students before submission if you want students to see the rubric before they post to the discussion forum. Optionally select the check box beside Display rubric scores to students after submission if you want students to see the rubric scores after their discussion forum participation is graded.
  4. Check the Enable scoring rubrics check box to automatically calculate a user's score within a discussion based on quantitative (posts, replies, etc.) and qualitative (instructor scores, peer ratings, etc.) measures of student performance. Scores are posted to the Grade Forums tool found in the Utility menu.

Click the Save button when all settings are complete.

Note: For more information on common and advanced settings, reference the Lessons: Common Editor Settings Tabs help topic.

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