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A discussion board forum is an area where participants discuss a topic or a group of related topics. Within each forum, users can create multiple threads. A thread includes the initial post and all replies to it. You can create forums and threads to organize discussions into units or topics relevant to your course.
Forum settings allow you to use the discussion board in different ways. For example, to control a forum, an instructor creates all threads, moderates, and grades the posts. For a student-led discussion, you can allow students to create new threads with the option of posting anonymously. You can also create "post first" forums where you ask students to respond before they can read their classmates' posts.
The forum description you provide appears when users create a thread and when they encounter a thread with the post first setting. Forum descriptions are often used as prompts for discussion and are visible where users are posting.
You can choose between Standard View, the default, and Participants must create a thread to view other threads in this forum, which is the post first setting.
Forum settings are grouped into related areas on the page, making it easier to scan and select options. Settings that are not available based on the current selections are grayed-out or have strike-through text.
For example, when you apply the post first setting, various settings are automatically set and made unavailable for change to maintain the integrity of the post first capability. An author is not allowed to delete his own posts to avoid a student posting something first to see others’ posts, and then editing their post after the fact.
- Access the discussion board and click Create Forum on the action bar.
- On the Create Forum page, type a name and optional instructions or a description. On the main discussion board page, the description follows the forum name.
- In the Forum Availability section, click Yes.
You can create forums ahead of time and set the availability to No until the discussion is ready to start.
- Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions do not affect the forum availability, only when it appears.
- Select the Forum Settings based on your specific needs.
Viewing Threads/Replies Settings
To promote originality, creativity, and a variety of responses, you can choose Participants must create a thread to view other threads in this forum, which is the post first setting. Students must respond before they can read their classmates' posts.
In Standard View, users can see all previously created threads in the forum.
You can create a graded forum or thread and a column is created automatically in the Grade Center.
Click Grade Discussion Forum and type a point value to evaluate participants on performance throughout a forum.
Click Grade Threads to evaluate participants on performance in each thread.
If you are grading posts and want to retain the posts as they were at the time of grading, clear the check box for Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts.
If you enable grading for the forum, select the check box for Show participants in needs grading status and select the number of posts from the drop-down list. Applying this setting displays the needs grading icon in the Grade Center and places the posts in the queue on the Needs Grading page after users make the specified number of posts. If you select a grading option and do NOT select the check box, the needs grading icon does not appear in the Grade Center and posts do not appear on the Needs Grading page.\
If you choose three posts from the drop-down list and a user submits two, the in progress icon appears in the Grade Center cell and the discussion board until the specified number of posts is met.
Due Date and Rubric Settings
When you enable grading, you can provide a Due Date. Due dates are used to organize and assign gradable items to grading periods in the Grade Center. Graded posts made after the due date are marked LATE on the Grade Details page in the Grade Center and on the Needs Grading page.
You can also associate a rubric to use for grading by pointing to Add Rubric.
- Click Submit.
On the Discussion Board page, the new forum appears at the bottom of the list.
After you click a forum title, a page loads displaying all forum threads. View the page in either list view or tree view. This choice remains in effect until you change it. You may change it at any time. Change the view on the forum page, in the upper-right corner.
Click List View to present the threads in a table format. Threads containing any unread posts appear in bold type.
- From the action bar, you can create threads, collect, or delete posts.
Depending on the settings you made when creating the forum, different functions appear on the action bar. For example, if you allowed tagging, a Tags function appears. If you enabled email subscription for the forum, a Subscribe function appears.
- To sort a column, click the column heading.
- Select the check box next to a thread and make a selection from the Thread Actions drop-down list. You can select multiple threads or select the check box in the header to select all threads. The actions include:
- Marking threads read or unread.
- Setting or clearing flags. Flags mark threads for later attention.
- Editing the status of the selected threads.
- Subscribing to or unsubscribing from email alerts for new posts made to selected threads, if enabled.
Click Tree View to show the thread starter messages and their replies. From the action bar, you can create threads, collect, or delete posts.
Expand and collapse threads with the plus and minus icons next to the titles. If a thread starter message contains unread posts, the thread starter title appears in bold type. On the action bar, use the Collapse All and Expand All functions to hide or see all posts included in all threads.
Select the check box next to a thread and make a selection from the Message Actions drop-down list on the action bar. You can select multiple threads or select the check box in the header to select all threads. Actions include marking threads read or unread and setting or clearing flags. Flags mark threads for later attention.
When you enable email subscription, students can receive email alerts for new posts or replies. You can allow students to subscribe to an entire forum or to specific threads within a forum.
- Access a forum's contextual menu and click Edit.
- On the Edit Forum page, select the Subscribe options:
- Allow members to subscribe to threads: Users can select specific threads within the forum.
- Allow members to subscribe to forum: Users can subscribe to all threads within the forum.
- Include body of post in the email: Displays the message text and a link to reply to the message in the email notification.
- Include link to post: Displays a link to the message in the email notification.
- Click Submit.
To Learn More
To distinguish between forums and threads, see About Forums and Threads.
To learn more about which forum settings to choose to fit your pedagogical requirements, see Set Up Discussions.
To learn more about the Needs Grading icon, see About the Needs Grading Page.
To learn more about using rubrics, see Using Rubrics.
To learn how to change the order of forums, see How to Reorder Discussion Forums.