Creating discussion forums and topics

Use forums to organize your discussion topics into categories. Your course can have multiple forums and topics, but you must create a forum before you can create a topic since all topics belong to forums.

  1. Create a new forum
  2. Create a new topic
  3. Understanding forum and topic restrictions
  4. Understanding topic assessment
  5. Understanding topic objectives

Create a new forum

  1. On the Discussions List page, click New Forum from the New button.
  2. Enter a Title and Description for your forum.
  3. Select the Create a new topic in this forum with the same title check box to automatically create a topic in the forum with the same name.
  4. In the Options section:
    • Select the Allow anonymous messages check box to enable users to post messages anonymously for all topics in the forum.
    • Note  You cannot evaluate anonymous messages.

    • Select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box to require messages get approval before they appear in forum topics.
  5. Select a Visibility option for your forum.

    Note  If you select Forum is visible for a specific date range, select the Has Start Date and Has End Date check boxes to set your availability. You can also have dates Display in Calendar.

  6. Select forum Locking Options:
    • Select Lock forum to the lock the forum upon creation. It remains locked until you select Unlock forum.
    • Select Unlock forum for a specific date range to open the forum within a date range. Select the Has Start Date and Has End Date check boxes to set your forum availability.
  7. See Understanding forum and topic restrictions if you want to set release conditions for your forum.
  8. Click Save and Close or Save and Add Topic.

Create a new topic

  1. On the Discussions List page, click New Topic from the New button.
  2. Select the Forum you want to place your topic in from the drop-down list. Click New Forum if you want to create a new forum for your topic.
  3. Enter a Title and Description for your topic.

    Note  Depending on your course settings, topic descriptions might display in the message list where users read and post messages. If this setting is enabled, we recommend you keep descriptions short and avoid including large images for accessibility purposes.

  4. In the Options section:
    • Select the Allow anonymous messages check box to enable users to post messages anonymously.
    • Note  You cannot evaluate anonymous messages.

    • Select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box to require messages get approval before they appear in the topic.
    • Select the A user must compose a message before participating in the topic check box if you want users to post an original message before they can respond to other users' messages.
  5. Select a Visibility option for your topic.

    Note  If you select Topic is visible for a specific date range, select the Has Start Date and Has End Date check boxes to set your availability. You can also have dates Display in Calendar.

  6. Select topic Locking Options:
    • Select Lock topic to the lock the forum when it is created. It remains locked until you select Unlock topic.
    • Select Unlock topic for a specific date range to open the topic within a date range. Select the Has Start Date and Has End Date check boxes to set your topic availability.
  7. See Understanding forum and topic restrictions, Understanding topic assessment, and Understanding topic objectives for more information on how to set release conditions, evaluate discussion posts, and associate learning objectives for a topic.
  8. Click Save and Close or Save and New.

Understanding forum and topic restrictions

Release Conditions

To make a forum or topic available to users only after they fulfill other specified tasks, click Attach Existing or Create and Attach release conditions in the Restrictions tab. Examples of release conditions include completing a dropbox submission, scoring a specified grade in a particular quiz, completing a survey, or being enrolled in a particular section. You can edit and change release conditions by clicking the Remove icon beside an individual condition or Remove All Conditions.

Group Restrictions

Select the Restrict this topic to the following groups check box to restrict a forum or topic so that it is only accessible to members of a specific group or section. Click Add Groups and select the group you would like to be able to access the forum or topic in the Group Category drop-down list. This enables you to:

Note  You must create groups or sections before you can set group or section restrictions.

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Understanding topic assessment

You can evaluate users' individual messages and have Learning Environment automatically calculate a topic score for each user, or you can assign a topic score directly to each user. If you choose to assess individual messages, you can specify how you want the system to calculate each user’s overall topic score in the Messages section of the Assessment tab when you edit a topic.

See Assessing (evaluating) a discussion topic for more information.

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Understanding topic objectives

Associate a topic with learning objectives to measure a user's mastery of skills, abilities, and knowledge. You can use a rubric to evaluate a user's success at meeting the learning objective. See Evaluating discussion topic activities for information about assessing learning objectives linked to discussion topics.

Associate a topic with learning objectives

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic you want to associate with learning objectives.
  2. In the Objectives tab, click Associate Learning Objectives.
  3. Browse or Search for the learning objectives you want to associate with the discussion topic.
  4. Select the check boxes beside the learning objectives you want and click Add Selected.

Add an assessment to a learning objective associated with a topic

  1. On the Discussions List page, click Edit Topic from the context menu of the topic that contains the learning objective you want to associate with an assessment.
  2. In the Objectives tab, click Add Assessment from the context menu of the learning objective you want to evaluate.
  3. Click Select Rubric or Create Rubric in New Window. See Creating a rubric for information on creating effective rubrics and Associate a learning objective with an activity to learn more about associating activities with learning objectives.
  4. Select a Criteria from the drop-down list.
  5. If you want to make the activity required, select The activity is required to complete learning objective, then select a level for the rubric from the Threshold drop-down list.
  6. Click Save.

Edit assessments and learning objectives associated with topics

If you have permissions to edit a discussion topic's associated learning objectives and assessments, click Edit Learning Objective or Edit Assessment from the context menu of the learning objective or assessment you want to modify.

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See also

 

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