How to Create a Gradable Discussion Forum and Topic

The purpose of this article is explain how to create a discussion board forum and topic in the Brightspace learning environment.

Best Practices for Using Discussions

  • Ensure that there are discussion topics created for your discussion forum(s)
    Forums are used to group topics into predetermined themes, course units, etc. You can only post in discussion topics. If there are no topics created for a forum, then students will not be able to participate in discussions.
    On the course home page, click Discussions. Make sure that there are topics nested under the discussion forum. If you do not see topics nested under the discussion forum(s), you must create topics.
  • Ensure that discussion forums and topics are not unintentionally hidden
    The option to hide a discussion forum or topic is located on the New Forum or New Topic page (or the Edit page for existing forums and topics), in the Properties tab of the Availability section.
    If you selected Hide this [topic or forum], then learners are not able to see it. If a discussion forum has this setting enabled, all of the topics nested under it are also hidden.
  • Ensure that there are no unwanted date restrictions set for the discussion forum or topic
    Students cannot access topics that fall outside of set date restrictions. If a discussion forum has date restrictions attached, then all topics nested under it will be hidden outside of those date restrictions.
    The option to set date restrictions is located on the New Forum or New Topic page (or the Edit page for existing forums and topics), in the Properties tab of the Availability section. Select the Forum is visible for a specific date range check box, then fill out your start and end dates. If you want the forum or topic to be currently visible, ensure that the End Date has not passed yet and the Start Date has already begun; if you want it to be available at a later time, set the date restrictions accordingly.
    If you do not want date restrictions enabled, select [Forum/Topic] is always visible.
  • Ensure that the appropriate group restriction settings are applied
    If group restrictions are enabled for the discussion forum or topic, then only students within the group selected can see the discussion.
    The option to set group restrictions is located on the New Forum or New Topic page (or the Edit page for existing forums and topics), in the Restrictions tab of the Group and Section Restrictions section. Select Restrict this forum to the following groups and sections to enable group restrictions for a forum or topic.

Create a Forum

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

Step 1

Navigate to the Discussions tool

  1. Click Discussions
  2. Click Discussions


Step 2

Create a forum

  1. Click New
  2. Click New Forum


Step 3

Setup the forum

  1. Enter a Title
  2. Check if you would like to create a new topic in this forum with the same title: automatically creates a new topic with the same title as the new forum that is created (optional)
  3. Enter a description for the forum (optional)
  4. Select any additional Options you want (optional)
  5. Select Visibility status (optional)
  6. Select Locking Options (optional), click Save and Close


Create a Topic

Step 4

Add a topic

  1. Click New
  2. Click New Topic


Step 5

Setup the topic

  1. Select a Forum for the topic
  2. Enter a Title for the topic
  3. Enter a Description for the topic (optional)
  4. Select any of the Options you would like add (optional)
  5. Select which rating scheme, if any, you would like to use (optional)
  6. Select Availability status for the topic (optional)
  7. Select Locking Options (optional)


Step 6

Make the discussion topic gradable.

Note: You can choose to assess the entire topic, or each individual post. For more information on assessing topics, click here.

  1. Click the Assessment tab
  2. Choose the grade item the discussion topic will be attached to
  3. Enter the Score Out Of (we recommend 100)
  4. Check the box next to Allow assessment of individual posts if you want to assess each post and reply a student submits.  In the calculation drop-down menu you can select how you want those scores to be calculated.
  5. Click Save and Close


TIP: If you select Allow assessment of individual posts you will enter a score for every post or reply a student submits. If you leave this box unchecked, you can still read all posts and replies but you will only enter one score for the entire topic.


Video: Create a Forum

Video: Create a Topic

in Brightspace

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