Create Discussion Forums and Topics

In D2L, discussions are a common tool used for students to engage in asynchronous communication. Discussions allow students to respond to instructor prompts and to each other's responses as they have the opportunity.

The discussion tool is divided into two pieces - forums and topics. Forums serve as containers or "folders" for discussion topics. Without a forum, you can't create topics, and students can't post in forums, so you must have both.

There are multiple ways to structure discussions. Some professors create one forum for the entire course and put all topics inside that forum. Others create a forum for each week and put topics into each of those forums. However you choose to organize your discussions, you must create forums and put topics inside them.

To do so, follow the steps below.

To create a discussion forum:

  1. Click the Collaboration menu on the navbar, then choose Discussions.
  2. Click on the New button, then choose New Forum.New Forum option on Discussion List page
  3. Give the forum a title, a description, and then choose which options you'd like to implement. 
NOTE: Options chosen at the forum level will apply to all the topics within the forum. You do not have to set any options at this level.

New Forum options on New Forum page

  • Allowing anonymous posts means that you will not know who posted any post marked as anonymous. Those posts will not be able to be graded.
  • Requiring a moderator to approve all posts means that no post will posted to any thread until you have read and approved it.
  • Requiring users to post a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in a topic means that they cannot read others' posts before they compose their own.
  • Displaying the forum description in topics will display the description that you have entered for the forum (for example, instructions that would be applicable to all topics in the forum) in each topic in the forum.

Setting Availability on Restrictions Tab

  1. To make sure that the forum and the topics within it will be visible to during the visibility dates, make sure that the "Hide from Users" checkbox is unchecked.
    Identifies Hide from User Checkbox
  2. Availability determines when the dates the forum will be visible to the student. Availability Option for New Forum
  3. Locking determines when students can post in a forum. You can leave it unlocked at all times, lock it, or give a range of dates when it will be unlocked.
    Locking Options for New Forum
    • If a forum is unlocked but not visible, students will be unable to post in any topics within it because they cannot see them.

      NOTE: Remember that the dates you set here will apply to the topics in the forum. It is a recommended practice to leave the forum unrestricted and apply restrictions to the discussion topics within the forum. A topic cannot have an unlocked date that is later than the unlocked date set for the forum.
  4. When you are done, click Save and Close.

To Create a Discussion Topic:

  1. Click on Collaboration on the navbar and choose Discussions.
  2. Click on the New button and choose New Topic.
    Image shows where to find New Topic link.
  3. Choose a forum to put the topic in.
  4. Select the type of discussion topic.
    • Open Topic: all students can access the topic and view the same posts.
    • Group or Section Topic: all students can access the topic, but can only see posts from their own group.
      • Group or Section Category: Select the group category that you would like to separate posts by if you have chosen a Group or Section Topic
  5. Give the topic a title, and a description. The description will serve as the instructions for the students on the prompt for the discussion and how to participate.
  6. Choose which options you'd like to implement.
    Shows New Topic options
    • Allowing anonymous posts means that you will not know who posted any post marked as anonymous. You will not be able to grade these posts.
    • Requiring a moderator to approve all posts means that no post will be posted to any thread until you have read and approved it.
    • Requiring students to post a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in a topic means that they cannot read others' posts before they compose their own.
  7. Choose the rating system you want, if any, under "Rate Posts." This will allow students to rate individual posts in the topic.

Availability options are set in the same way as those for forums listed above.

To Add the Discussion Topic to Your Content

  1. Navigate to the module where you want to add your discussion.
  2. Click the Add Existing Activities button then choose Discussions.
    Image shows where to find Discussions link.
  3. Choose the forum the topic is associated with.
    Image shows list of Discussion forums.
  4. Choose the topic you want to add.
    Image shows list of forum topics.
  5. After making your selection, the topic will appear in your module.
    Image shows chosen discussion topic.