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Desire 2 Learn


Accessing Discussions

To open the Discussions tool, click on the Evaluation link group in the default course NavBar and then select Discussions.

image of the discussions tool in the default course nav bar


Creating Discussions

Adding a Forum

You will need to create a Forum in order to create Topics. Students will post/respond to topics. Note that any restrictions you place on the forum level will be inherited by all of the topics within that forum. For example, placing availability or locking dates on the forum level will open and close all of the topics within that forum, overriding any dates you may have placed on the topics themselves.

  1. Click the New Button and select New Forum from the drop-down menu.

    image of the new forum button

  2. Enter a Title and (optional)Description.
  3. Select the appropriate Options:
    image of the forum options
    1. If you allow students to be able to post anonymously, be sure to check the Allow Anonymous posts checkbox.
    2. If you would like to approve messages before they are posted, be sure to check the check box labeled A moderator must approve...
    3. To require a student to post a thread before being able to view other threads, select the Most Post First checkbox.
  4. The Availability options will allow you to change when or if the students can view the forum.
    Visibility Options of a Forum
    1. The Hide this Forum option will allow you to hide the forum from the student's view. You may want to choose this if you want to have access to the forum once the students are at a certain point in the course.
    2. The Start and/or End Date will allow you to set the discussion forum to appear and disappear from student's view on certain dates you set. Leaving the option set to No will display the forum immediately without restrictions.
  5. LockingOptions will allow you to make the Forum read only.

    Locking options for a forum

    1. The Lock this Forum option will make the entire forum READ-ONLY. No one, including instructors, will be able to post to any topic within this forum.
    2. The Start and/or End Date will allow you remove access to the "Start a Thread" or "Post Reply" buttons - making the forum read-only during a window of time.
  6. Be sure to Save and Close when finished or select Save and Add Topic to begin adding topics to this Forum.

Adding a Topic

You will need to create a Forum before you can create Topics.

  1. Click the New Button and select New Topic from the drop-down menu.
  2. Choose a Forum from the drop-down
    1. You may also create the Forum at this step if you previously did not create one

      Image of the new topic page

  3. Enter a Title and Description (optional)
  4. Select the appropriate Options:

    image of the topic options
    1. If you allow students to be able to post anonymously, be sure to check the Allow Anonymous posts checkbox.
    2. If you would like to approve messages before they are posted, be sure to check the check box labeled A moderator must approve...
    3. To require a student to post a thread before being able to view other threads, select the Most Post First checkbox
  5. Select a Rating option from the Rate Post drop-down menu. This option allows for you to enable rating options on individual topics.
    1. Five-Star Rating Scheme allows users to assign each post a score out of five.
    2. Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme allows users to increase or decrease a post's rating.
    3. Up Vote Only Rating Scheme allows users to increase a post's rating.
    4. No Ratings hides all rating controls from users.
  6. The Availability options will allow you to change when or if the students can view the topic.
    image of the availability dates on the edit topic page
    1. The Hide this Topic option will allow you to hide the forum from the student's view. You may want to choose this if you want to have access to the forum once the students are at a certain point in the course.
    2. The Start and/or End Date will allow you to set the discussion forum to appear and disappear from student's view on certain dates you set. Leaving the option set to No will display the topic immediately without restrictions.
  7. Locking Options will allow you to make the Topic read-only.
    image of the locking date options on the edit topic page
    1. The Lock this Topic option will make the entire forum READ-ONLY. No one, including instructors, will be able to post to this topic.
    2. The Start and/or End Date will allow you remove access to the "Start a Thread" or "Post Reply" buttons - making the topic read-only during a window of time.
  8. The RestrictionsTab will allow you to add release conditions to the Topic, or to set any group restrictions on a topic or forum. View the Groups Tool to learn more about automatically creating group-restricted discussion topics.
    Image of the resitriction tab of the create a topic page. Release Conditions and Group and Section restrictions are listed on this page.

  9. The AssessmentTab will allow you to attach a grade item to the Topic so you can grade the students' threads.
    image of the assessment tab of the edit topic screen with the grade item dropdown and score out of boxes displayed
    1. (Optional) Select a Grade Item from the Grade Item drop-down list. Alternately, clicking the [New Grade Item] hyperlink will allow you to create a new grade item in a separate window. Selecting a grade item will associate the selected topic with a column in the grade book. If this particular topic's score will be part of the student's final calculated grade, we suggest associating the topic with a grade item.
    2. Enter the maximum point value of this topic in the Score Out Of box. If this topic is associated with a grade item, confirm that the maximum point value of the grade is equal to the number placed in the Score Out Of box.
    3. If utilizing a rubric, click the Add Rubric button to select a rubric to be used during assessment. To learn more about creating rubrics, visit the Rubrics page.
  10. The ObjectivesTab will allow you to connect this topic to a learning objective.
  11. Be sure to Save when finished

Once you have added a Topic, your Discussion Forum will now be visible and the students will be able to post threads.

Participating in Discussions

Posting a Thread

You will need to have created a Forum and Topic in order for you and your students to be able to post a thread. A Thread is a response to the Topic.

  1. From the Discussions List page, click on the Topic of your choice.
  2. Click the Start a New Thread button.
    Image of the Start a Thread button
  3. Enter your Subject and a Message for the Thread.
    Image of the subject and message fields located on the Start Thread page
    1. To ensure that your thread stays at the top of the topic, check the Pin thread box.
    2. Remember that D2L will, be default, subscribe you to every thread you create. To turn off these notifications, simply uncheck the Subscribe to this thread box.
  4. (Optional) If you would like to add an attachment to your thread, click the Add Attachment hyperlink.
  5. Click the Post button to save your thread and post it to the Discussion Topic.
Grading Discussions

The Assessment Tab under the New Topic page will allow you to grade a discussion topic should you choose to do so. Turning the discussion into a graded item is similar to setting other tools in D2L, such as the Dropbox or Assessments, as graded items.

To turn on the grading feature within a discussion board topic:

  1. Navigate to the Edit Topic page.
  2. Select the Assessment tab.
    image of the assessment tab of the edit topic screen with the grade item dropdown and score out of boxes displayed
  3. (Optional) In order for the topic grade to automatically export to the grade book, select a grade book item from the Grade Item drop-down list. Alternately, clicking the [New Grade Item] hyperlink will allow you to create a grade item in a new pop-up window.
  4. Enter a number in the "Score Out of" text box. This number should be the maximum number of points a student can earn on this particular topic.
  5. (Optional) Attach a Rubric to this particular topic by clicking the Add Rubric button and selecting a published rubric.
  6. (Optional) If you would like to grade each post individually, mark the Allow assessment of individual posts option and choose a Calculation method.

Grading a Discussion Board Topic

Grading Discussion Board Topics is achieved through the Assess Topic page. This page groups together all posts made by individual students so that an instructor may view a student's entire topic performance in a single window. Please note that it may be necessary to read through he discussion board topic in its entirety before trying to assess the students. This way, the instructor has the relevant contextual information necessary in order to rate the merit of student responses.

  1. From the context menu of a Discussion Board Topic, select the Assess Topic Option.
    Image of the topic context menu (view topic, edit topic, view topic statistics, assess topic, unsubscribe, and delete)
  2. Click on the Topic Score for a particular student. A pop-up window will appear that contains all of the student's posts within a given topic.
    image of the topic score hyperlink on the assess topic page
  3. Scroll through the pop-up window to read the student's posts. Note that the default sort order is by Post Date.
  4. Enter a numeric score in the Topic Score text box.
  5. (Optional) Mark the Published checkbox to make this grade available to the student. if the topic is connected to the grade book this action will also send to score to the specified grade book item.
  6. Enter any feedback for the student in the Feedback text box.
  7. Click Save and Close to save the grade and feedback for this student.
  8. Repeat steps 2-7 for each student on the class list.

image of the topic score window (topic score, published, feedback options available)


Additional Considerations for Grading Discussions

  • Only published grades are able to be exported to the grade book. Students are also only able to see published grades. Some instructors may choose to not publish a student's score until scores for the entire class list have been recorded. Then, a final step in this workflow would be to click the Publish All Scores to Grades button located at the top of the Assess Topic Page.
    Image of the assess topic page with the publish all scores to grades button circled

  • Scan through the Publish to Grades column on the Assess Topic page to ensure that all student grades have been published. Published grades will have a check mark in the Published checkbox. 
Discussion Views and Settings

Discussion Views

D2L supports two different views in the Discussions tool, Grid View and Reading View. Grid View is the traditional view used by earlier versions of D2L. Beginning with ETSU's 10.3 upgrade in January 2014, the Reading View became the default. 

  • Grid View - Selecting this option will display the discussion posts in the traditional Grid View, with post subjects displaying in a grid.
  • Reading View - Selecting this option will display the discussion posts in Reading View, where the entire text of a post displays for all posts.

Follow these steps to configure your Default View in the Discussion Board:


  1. Click Settings, located on the far right-hand side of the screen.
    image of the discussion board tool in the nav bar

  2. In the Default View section, select either Grid View or Reading View.
    image of the settings link on the discussions list page

  3. Click Save to save your changes and return to the Discussions List page.

Grid View Example:

Image of a Discussion board topic in grid view

 

Reading View Example:

Image of a Discussion board topic in reading view


Discussion Settings

Some features of the Discussion Tool can be changed on the individual user's view. Students can also change the way they view discussions. You can access these settings by clicking the Settings icon from within the Discussion Tool.

  • Display Settings control how and what your Discussion board displays.
  • Reply Settings give you the option to include the text of the previous message in your reply. This resembles an email when seen on the screen.
    • Please note that this preference is dependent upon the poster of the message. Inform your students if you would prefer they not use this feature.
  • Org Unit Settings refer to settings you enable for your course. You can choose whether users can rate messages and if message descriptions are shown in the topics list. This option is also available on the topic level.
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