Creating discussion forums and topics

You can 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 Forum from the New button.
  2. Enter a Title and Description for your forum.
  3. If you want to automatically create a topic in the forum with the same name, select the Create a new topic in this forum with the same title check box.
  4. In the Options section:
    • You can 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.

    • You can select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box to require messages be approved before they are posted 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 and set your dates. You can also select to have dates Display in Calendar.

  6. Select forum Locking Options:
    • Select Lock forum to the lock the forum when it is created. It will remain locked until Unlock forum is reselected.
    • 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 and set your forum availability.
  7. See Understanding forum and topic restrictions if you want to set release conditions for your forum.
  8. Click Save.

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. You can click New Forum if you want to create a new category for your topic.
  3. Enter a Title and Description for your topic.

    Note  Depending on your course settings, topic descriptions might be displayed 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.

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

    • You can select the Messages must be approved before being displayed check box to require messages be approved before they are posted in the topic.
    • If you want users to post a message before they are allowed to respond to messages posted by others, select the A user must compose a message before participating in the topic check box.
  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 and set your dates. You can also select to have dates Display in Calendar.

  6. Select topic Locking Options:
    • Select Lock topic to the lock the forum when it is created. It will remain locked until Unlock topic is reselected.
    • 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 and 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, respectively.
  8. Click Save.

Understanding forum and topic restrictions

Release Conditions

In the Restrictions tab, click Create and Attach, or Attach Existing release conditions if you want a forum or topic to be available to users only after they fulfill other specified tasks. Examples of release conditions include completing a dropbox submission; scoring a specified grade in a particular quiz; completing a survey; and being enrolled in a particular section. You can edit and change release conditions by clicking the Remove icon 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 in the Group Category drop-down list, select the group you would like to access the forum or topic. 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 users' mastery of skills, abilities, and knowledge. You can use a rubric to evaluate users' success at meeting the learning objective. If you want to make the discussion topic a learning objective requirement, select The activity is required to complete learning objective and enter a Threshold level from the drop-down list. See Evaluating a discussion topic activity 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 click Create Rubric in New Window. See Creating a Rubric for information on creating effective rubrics, and see Evaluating activities in a competency to learn more about associating activities with learning objectives.
  4. Select a rubric from the list of rubrics, or Search for a specific one, then click Save.
  5. Select a Criteria from the drop-down list.
  6. 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.
  7. 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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