Communication Tools


The Annoucements tool is available in VIULearn on the Course Home page of all courses. You can use the Announcements tool as a way to grab your learners' attention when they first access your course. You can post announcements to keep your learners up to date on the course, share interesting articles or media, or just add some personality to your Course Home page.

Learn more about: Using the Announcements Tool in VIULearn


The Classlist tool is available in VIULearn under the Communications menu. The VIULearn Classlist is updated nightly to reflect the official VIU Class List. You can add participants to your VIULearn Classlist and they will not be officially enrolled in the class. You can use the VIULearn Classlist to email your learners, and they can use it to contact you or their classmates.

Learn more about: Using the Classlist in VIULearn

Learn more about: Adding Participants to Your VIULearn Course


The Discussions tool is available in VIULearn under the Communications menu. The Discussions tool is a collaborative area to encourage learners to post, read, and reply to threads on different topics; share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with their peers on assignments and homework. Online discussions have the potential to promote critical thinking skills by encouraging learners to engage with the content and use higher order thinking skills.

Learn more about: Creating Discussion Forums + Topics

Learn more about: Using the Discussion Tool

Learn more about: Grading Discussion Topics


The Groups tool is available in VIULearn under the Communciations menu. The Groups tool gives you the ability to create smaller working or project groups within your course. Groups can be used to create small group discussions, group submisssion folders, group restricted content, or even special group email lists within your course.

Learn more about: Creating Groups

Learn more about: Managing Groups


The Email tool is available in VIULearn under the message alerts icon on the minibar. You can also email your VIULearn Classlist, or specific students on your Classlist, from the Classlist tool. The Email tool will forward messages sent within the system to the external email of the receiver, if there is one on file. When you have a new email in VIULearn you will likely see an orange dot above the message alerts icon on the blue minibar ,unless you have changed your settings.

Learn more about: Using the Email Tool in VIULearn



  • You cannot evaluate anonymous posts
  • You can change the rating scheme at any time.
  • You can only link numeric grade items to discussion topics.
  • You can have discussion dates display in the course calendar.
  • Lock the topic rather than end it. This allows learners to review the discussion after it closes so that they don’t miss the last posts added.

Good Prompts for Online Discussion

- have students access prior knowledge
- have an open ended question
- allow for multiple perspectives
- should be related to course learning outcomes