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Discussions Overview

Using Discussions

Discussions are one of the ways that you are able to interact with students in your class.  You can access the Discussion section of the course shell by clicking on Discussions in the blue navigation bar.

What is the difference between a forum, a topic, and a thread?

Discussions are organized with the following structure:

  • Forum - generally used to share information such as instructions
    • Topic(s) - this is where conversations happen by both students and the instructor as "threads"
      • Threads - these are the individual posts written by students and instructors

Ideas to get you started

Using this tool, you can create topics for students to post and reply to fellow students. Often one of the first activities instructors create is an Icebreaker Discussion for students to introduce themselves (this activity is often used by instructors to verify attendance in the course).

When using Discussions, make sure to promote the use of good grammar and complete sentences (no textlish) and consider instructions for the posts such as a minimum word count. Including a rubric can help make these expectations clear.

Consider subscribing to a discussion to stay up-to-date with new posts. Check out how to do this in a video below.

Creating Discussions

About locking discussion forums and topics

Locking a topic prevents users from creating new posts or modifying existing posts, making the conversation read only. Users with permission can modify the contents of a locked topic. Locking a topic is an effective way of closing a conversation while allowing users to refer back to posts. Consider locking a topic to end a conversation, then using a pinned summary post inside the topic. When users access the topic, your summary appears at the top.

You can specify start and end dates for when a forum or topic unlocks so you can set things up ahead of time to match your course’s calendar.

(Source: Brightspace Knowledge Base - About locking discussion forums and topics)

Grading Discussions