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Further Info

Discussion Boards

Collaboration through discussion boards

Discussion Boards facilitate online conversations, in text. Tutors can create one or more forums. Within each of these, 'threads' or conversations are created for each topic of discussion. Contributions to the discussion threads are called 'posts'.

This guide will show you how to create forums and make the Discussion Board tool available to your students. Read the guide on posting to the Discussion Board to learn how to start threads, and read or reply to posts.

Create a new forum

The first step is to create a forum for your modules or organisation.

  1. Navigate to the content area in your module where you would like to add a discussion board.
  2. Select Discussion Board from the Tools Menu.
    Scrrenshot of menu selection for the Discussion Board tool
  3. Click Create New Forum.
    Screenshot of Button to create a new forum
  4. Fill in the Name and description properties.
    Screenshot of forum creation in progress

Next we move on to configuration.

Configure the forum settings

You have a number of options on the Create Forum interface.

  • Availability
    If possible, make the Forum Available now, so that you don't forget later. Apply date restrictions if desired.
  • Viewing Threads/Replies
    Choose standard view to show posts to participants without restrictions. Choose 'Participants must create a thread' to restrict viewing to participants who have participated. This is the best option for discussion forums requiring an original contribution from each student. They will have to post before they can see other students' posts to the discussion.
  • Grade
    If you are grading the Forum, change the settings here. This will create a Grade Centre column, you can grade on screen whilst viewing a student's posts. How to access what needs grading is described in the Grade Centre guide.
  • Subscription
    Allow users to subscribe to forum updates.
  • Create and Edit.
    Settings which regulate how forum participants can edit and post, including moderation.
  • Additional Options
    Post tagging and ratings settings: tagging allows users to tag posts in a special view called a collection, to make reading large threads more flexible and easier to print. Ratings will allow users to rate each other's posts and will display an aggregated 5 star 'score'.

When you have selected all your options, click the Submit button.

Link to your new forum

  1. Now you must add the link to the new forum.
    Screenshot showing a link being made to a new discussion forum
  2. Select the forum you just created from the list, and click next.
  3. On the next screen you will be given an opportunity to add a link description. This text will be displayed in the content area where you placed the link.
  4. Set any tracking or date restriction options for the link if you wish and then click Submit.

Link to all forums

You can also choose to link to a view showing all Module discussion board forums (note this does not include forums associated with Groups).

  1. In the content area where you want to add the link, select Tools, then select Discussion Board.
  2. Select the option to "Link to a Discussion Board Page".
    Screenshot showing link to discussion board page in progress
  3. Click Next.
  4. On the next screen you will be given an opportunity to add a link description. This text will be displayed in the content area where you placed the link.
  5. Set any tracking or date restriction options at this point and then click Submit.

Adding a Module Menu link to all forums

  1. You can also add this type of link to your Module Menu. Select the + button and then Tool Link.
    Screenshot showing Tool Link being added to Module Menu
  2. Give the link a name, select Discussion Board from the drop down menu and then make it available to users.
    Screenshot showing Discussion Board tool link being added to the Module Menu
  3. Then click Submit.

Modifying

To edit an existing discussion forum:

  1. On the Control Panel, Select Module / Org tools then click Discussion Board.
  2. Select the Discussion Board containing the Forum you want to edit.
  3. You'll see a list of the forums associated with the board. Mouse over the Name of the Forum you wish to edit and click the chevron icon when it appears and select Edit.
    Screenshot of Forum edit menu

Managing Users

Normally, students will only have limited rights in a discussion board. However if you need to change the role of a student on the forum to allow them to moderate other participants' posts you can do this in the Manage menu.

  1. On the Control Panel, Select Module / Org tools then click Discussion Board.
  2. Select the Discussion Board containing the Forum you want to edit.
  3. You'll see a list of the forums associated with the board. Mouse over the Name of the Forum you wish to Manage and click the chevron icon when it appears and select Manage.
  4. A list of modules users will appear. Use the drop down menu next to the person's last name and choose the role to assign from the menu:
    Screenshot of role choices in the manage users menu
Roles have different privileges associated with them. Be careful.
  • Moderator: Participant privileges plus rights to modify, delete, and lock all posts. If Force Moderation of Posts is enabled in the forum settings, the Moderator can also approve or reject posts.
  • Reader: Read only rights. This role can't post to a forum.
  • Participant: Read and write privileges.
  • Block: This role blocks the user from accessing the forum (normally only used in cases of forum misuse).
  • Manager: All privileges. This role should not be given to students.
  • Grader: Participant plus grading privileges. This role should not be given to students as they will have access to all Discussion Board grades in the Grade Centre and they will be able to change the grades of any student for any discussion board activity.

Discussion Boards & Groups

If you use the Groups tool in your module, you can also create a Discussion Board via this tool which is only available to members of the Group. The Groups guide has comprehensive help on this topic.

  1. In the Create Group tool (accessed from the Module Menu > Users and Groups) select the option to create a group.
  2. Select the option to add a discussion board.
    Screenshot of Group Tool Availability options

If you select this option, a forum is automatically created within the Group. Follow the instructions in the Modifying section if you need to change settings (you do not see these via the Groups tool).

Students can access Group Discussion Boards via their Group pages.