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Creating Threads in the Discussion Board

In a discussion board forum, you can start new threads to begin a conversation. A thread includes the initial post and all replies to it. When you create a forum, you can allow or not allow members to start threads. Generally, the purpose of the forum dictates whether members can start threads. A moderated, graded forum used to evaluate student performance is usually tightly controlled, and members cannot create threads. Other forums are designed for members to share opinions and thoughts on tangential or unrelated topics. In this case, you might allow members to create threads and spark discussions.

You can change the status of existing threads and determine which threads appear in a forum to help organize your view.

Creating a thread as an instructor is the same as creating a thread as a student. If grading is enabled, you can also set the thread to be graded.


You create a forum that addresses a broad subject, such as "Addicted to Oil." Next, you create two threads containing the specific issues to be discussed, such as replacing oil usage with nuclear power, and the pros and cons of conservation. To ensure students post only to existing threads, consider disallowing thread creation in the forum settings.

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You create a forum and ask a question or provide the instructions or details in the description, such as "How can we reduce our reliance on oil?" Then, students create threads for each solution to the problem of oil addiction. All members post to existing threads to comment on given answers or create new threads to present new solutions. In the forum settings, ensure you select the Allow Members to Create New Threads option.

If you enabled thread grading, members cannot create new threads.

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How to Create Threads in a Discussion Forum

In the following example, you create a graded thread.

Files uploaded by students are not saved in the course repository.

  1. Access a discussion board forum.
  2. On the action bar, click Create Thread.
  3. On the Create Thread page, type a Subject.
  4. Type instructions, a description, or a question in the Message box. Optionally, you can use the content editor functions to format the text and include files, images, web links, multimedia, and mashups. Any files you upload form your computer are saved in Course Files or the Content Collection in the top-level folder. Attachments you upload using the content editor can be launched in a new window and can include alternate text to describe the attachment.
  5. Alternatively, in the Attachments section, attach a file using one of the following options:
    • To upload a file from your computer, click Browse My Computer.
    • To upload a file from the course's storage repository:
      • If Course Files is the course's storage repository, click Browse Course.


      • If your school licenses content management, click Browse Content Collection.
  6. If you chose to grade threads when you created the forum, you decide on a thread-by-thread basis whether to grade a thread. In the Grading section, select the check box for Grade Thread and type Points possible. You can choose to show participants in needs grading status after a certain number of posts, rather than with each individual post. To learn more, see The Needs Grading Page. You can also associate a rubric to use for grading by pointing to Add Rubric. To learn more, see Rubrics.
  7. Click Save Draft to store a draft of the post or click Submit to create the thread.

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The newly created thread appears in the forum.

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If you enabled grading, two functions appear in the Grade column:

  1. Click Grade Thread to evaluate the posts.
  2. Click Grade to enable grading for a thread and assign a value.

How to Change the Status of a Thread in a Discussion Forum

You can change the status of a thread to keep students focused on relevant discussions and to help organize a forum containing many threads. When a user creates and submits a thread, it is assigned the Published status.

The following table describes which thread status to select to accomplish various objectives.

Thread Status in the Discussion Board
Status Goal for Thread
Publish Make thread available to all users.
Hide Hide the thread from immediate view, but still allow users the option of reading the threads. Unneeded content is hidden from view, helping users find relevant content. Users cannot reply to or edit hidden threads even if editing is enabled for the thread.

Users can view hidden threads using the Display drop-down list on the action bar.

When you do not want the thread hidden, change the status to Publish.

Make Unavailable Hide thread from view of all users except forum managers.
Lock Allow users to read the thread, but not edit or add to it. Locking a thread allows you to assign grades without users updating or changing posts.
Unlock Unlock a locked thread to select another status.

Use the following steps to change the status of a thread or multiple threads at one time.

Alternatively, access a thread's contextual menu and select a thread status.

  1. Access the forum and change to List View, if needed.
  2. Select the check box next to each thread requiring a change of status. You can select multiple threads or select the check box in the header to select all threads.
  3. From the Thread Actions drop-down list, select a new status for the selected thread or threads.

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    The status for each thread appears in the Status column. If you save a draft of a thread to edit in the future, Draft appears in the Status column.

How to Change Which Threads Appear in a Discussion Forum

If you have many threads in a forum and assign different statuses to the threads, you can choose which threads appear in a forum. For example, if you start several threads and save them as drafts, you can choose to show only those drafts and select the threads to edit and publish.

  1. Access the forum and change to List View, if needed.
  2. On the action bar, point to Display to access the drop-down list.
  3. Select the type of threads to view in the forum.

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    The forum page displays only those threads that have the status selected from the Display drop-down list.

Related Tutorial video  Creating a Discussion Board Thread (Flash movie | 2m 4s)

Related Tutorial  video  Replying to a Discussion Board Thread (Flash movie | 2m 3s)