You are here

Create a New Forum or Topic

Courses can have multiple discussion forums and topics, but you must create at least one forum before you can create a topic.

  • Use forums to organize your discussion topics into categories.
  • Topics are where students and instructors can post and read messages. Each topic must belong to a forum.

Create a New Forum

  1. On the Discussions List tab, click New Forum on the drop-down menu.
  2. Enter a Title for the forum.
  3. If you want to automatically create a topic with the same name, select the Create a new Topic in this Forum with the same title checkbox.
  4. If you want to create a description, enter it in the Description field.
  5. Select the desired Options (optional):
    • ​​​Allow anonymous posts: Selecting this option allows users to post anonymously to topics created within this forum. Anonymous posts display with the author "Anonymous" in the thread. This option cannot be selected alongside the "Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads" option.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic: Selecting this option will require users to start a new thread in a topic before viewing or replying to other threads in that topic in the forum.
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum: Selecting this option will require a moderator to approve posts to topics created within this forum before they display to users.
    • Display forum description in topics: Selecting this option will display the forum's description in addition to the topic description when viewing a topic.
  6. Click on Restrictions to set the Availability and the desired visibility and posting restrictions for the forum:
    • Visible with access restricted before/after start: Forum will be visible to learners before/after the Start/End Date, but they cannot access it. Information displayed to learners about the activity will be limited to title, dates, and restrictions.
    • Visible with submission restricted before/after start: Forum will be visible to learners before/after the Start/End Date and they can access it, but they cannot post new threads or replies after the set availability. This effectively makes a discussion read-only before/after the Start/End Date.
    • Hidden before/after start: Forum will be hidden from learners until the Start/End Date. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends are hidden until the Start/End Date. Notifications are not sent until the Start/End Date.

Restrictions to set the Availability and the desired visibility

 

Create a New Topic

  1. On the Discussions List tab, click New Topic on the drop-down menu.
  2. In the Forum drop-down list, select the forum in which you want to create the topic, or create a new forum by clicking the New Forum link.
  3. Select the desired Topic Type:
    • Open topic, everyone can access this topic and its contents
    • Group or section topic, everyone can access this topic but students only see threads from their own group or section
  4. Enter a Title for the topic.
  5. Enter a Description:
    • ​​Depending on your discussion settings, topic descriptions will be displayed in the message list where users can read and post messages. If this setting is enabled, you should keep descriptions short and avoid using large images.
  6. Select any desired Options (optional):
    • Allow anonymous posts: Allows users to post anonymously to the topic. Anonymous posts display with the author "Anonymous" in the thread.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads: Requires users to start a new thread in the topic before viewing or replying to other threads in the topic. (Note: If this topic requires post-approval, users will not be able to view or reply to other threads until their thread is approved).
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic: Selecting this option will require a moderator to approve posts in this topic before they display to users.
  7. Rate Post allows users with the appropriate permissions to rate discussion posts in the course. You can change the rating scheme at any time. Reverting back to a previously used scheme will restore its former ratings. Select the desired Rate Post function:
    • No Ratings hides all rating controls from users.
    • Five-Star Rating Scheme allows users to assign each post a score out of five.
    • Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme allows users to increase or decrease a post's rating.
    • Up Vote Only Rating Scheme allows users to increase a post's rating.
  8. Click on Restrictions to set the Availability and the desired visibility and posting restrictions for the topic:
    • Visible with access restricted before/after start: Topic will be visible to learners before/after the Start/End Date, but they cannot access it. The information displayed to learners about the activity will be limited to title, dates, and restrictions.
    • Visible with submission restricted before/after start: Topic will be visible to learners before/after the Start/End Date and they can access it, but they cannot post new threads or replies after the set availability. This effectively makes a discussion read-only before/after the Start/End Date.
    • Hidden before/after start: Topic will be hidden from learners until the Start/End Date. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends are hidden until the Start/End Date. Notifications are not sent until the Start/End Date.
  9. Select the Display in Schedule check box to display this topic in the Calendar.
  10. Click Save to save the topic or Save and New to save the topic and create another one.

Restriction to adjust the availability

Link a Discussion Topic to a Content Module

  1. You must have already created a Topic in the Discussions tool in order to link it to a Content module.
  2. Go to Content then locate or create a Module where you would like to place a link to a discussion topic.
  3. Click the Add Existing Activities button.
  4. In the drop-down list, select Discussions.
  5. Select the Forum you would like to add to the module or Create New Discussion Forum.
  6. Select the Topic you would like to add or Create New Discussion Topic.
  7. Students will then be able to click on the link and view any threads on the given topic.

Link discussion topic to a content module

Setting Options for Forums and Topics

The following settings are available when you create a new forum or topic. Any settings you apply to a forum apply to all the forum’s topics, for example, if you have several topics in which you want to allow anonymous messages, you can put these topics in a single forum and enable anonymous messages for that forum.

Options for Forums and Topics
Action Settings

Enable users to post messages anonymously

Select Allow anonymous messages. Note that you cannot evaluate anonymous messages.

Require messages to be approved

Select A moderator must approve individual posts before they are displayed in the topic.

Hide the forum

In the Availability section:

  • To hide the forum, select Hide this forum. It remains hidden until Forum is always visible is selected again.
  • To make the forum visible within a date range, select Forum is visible for a specific date range and specify a Start Date when the forum becomes visible and/or an End Date when it is hidden again.

Lock the forum

If the options in the Locking options section are not visible, click Show locking options, then do one of the following:

  • To lock the forum when it is created, select Lock forum. It will remain locked until Unlock forum is selected again.
  • To open the forum within a date range, select Unlock forum for a specific date range and specify a Start Date when the forum is unlocked and/or an End Date when it is locked again.