Set Up a Discussion Area for Your Entire Class

These instructions will guide you through setting up a discussion topic that your entire class can access and participate in. 

To set up a discussion, there are two components that you'll need: forums, and topics. A forum is an organizing feature, it works like a folder. A topic is where students can actually start posting. You need at least one forum, and each forum can have multiple topics.  Here's an example of one forum, with two topics, from the instructor view:

Create a New Discussion Forum


Note that many of the same settings can be configured from both the forum level, and the topic level, such as date restrictions. In most cases, you will want to configure additional settings in the topic, not the forum. 
  1. From the navigation bar in your course, click Activities, and then click Discussions.

  2. Click on the New button, and choose New Forum from the list.

  3. Enter a descriptive Title in the text box. No further settings are required, you can skip to step 6, or look at optional settings. 
  4. OPTIONAL: Click the question mark icon next to settings for more details. Configure additional settings from the Options section as needed. 
  5. OPTIONAL: Review the Availability settings, and configure as needed.
    • Visibility options determine when students can view and access the entire forum; if the forum is hidden, students can't see any part of the discussion. 
    • Locking options control whether or not students can post to any of the topics in the forum. When a topic is locked, students can view, but can't post. 
  6. Click the Save and Close button at the bottom of the page to finish.

Create a New Discussion Topic

  1. From the navigation bar in your course, click Activities, and then click Discussions.

  2. Click on the New button, and choose New Topic from the list.

  3. Choose a forum from the Forum drop down menu. 
  4. Enter a descriptive Title in the text box. No further settings are required, you can skip to step 6, or look at optional settings. 
  5. OPTIONAL: Click the question mark icon next to settings for more details. Configure additional settings from the Options section as needed. 
  6. OPTIONAL: Review the Availability settings, and configure as needed.
    • Visibility options determine when students can view and access the topic; if the forum is hidden, students can't see any part of the discussion. 
    • Locking options control whether or not students can post to the topic. When a topic is locked, students can view, but can't post. 
  7. Click the Save and Close button at the bottom of the page to finish.

This webpage is created and maintained by the Office of Academic Innovation (OAI) at Portland State University.

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