VIU Campus

Set Up Discussions

Before starting to set up your Discussions, it is important to understand the language used in VIULearn to describe the various pieces of this tool.

Forums are categories you use to organize your discussions. You must create at least one Forum in order to set up any discussions. 

Topics  are "rooms" where students can have discussions. You must create at least one topic in order for students to participate in a discussion. Generally, you will make a new topic for each subject or question you want students to discuss. 

Threads are initial responses to a topic. These can be created by students or by you. Each direct reply to a topic will begin a new thread. 

Replies are the responses within a thread. You and your students can reply to others' posts (threads or replies) within a topic to have a back and forth discussion about the topic. 

Posts is the generic word for any contribution to a discussion. Posts can be either the start of a new thread or any reply to a thread. In many menus, VIULearn will use Post instead of Thread or Reply to refer to a contribution to the discussion. 

Creating Discussion Forums and Topics

In order for students to be able to participate in discussions, you must set up at least one forum and one topic.

  1. Click Communication from the course navigation bar. Select Discussions from the dropdown menu. 

  2. Click the blue New button and choose New Forum from the dropdown menu. 

  3. Give your Forum a title and add a description if you wish. 
    • You can choose to check the box for Create a new topic in this forum with the same title. If you would like the system to automatically create a Topic for you.

  4. Set and edit any additional settings.

  5. In the Properties tab you can:
    • Allow students to post anonymously to every Discussion Topic that has been associated to this Forum.
    • Require that a moderator (instructor) approve every post that is posted to Discussion Topics that have been assigned to this Forum before they are displayed for other students to read.
    • Require that students must start a thread in the Discussion Topic in question before they can see, read, and reply to other threads in that Discussion Topic. If this setting is applied at the Forum level, the setting will be automatically applied to each Discussion Topic that has been assigned to that Forum. 

  6. In the Restrictions tab you can:
    • Hide the Discussion Forum and any Discussion Topics associated with that Forum from students.
    • Give the Discussion Forum a Start & End Date and choose whether these dates will display in the course calendar. Doing so will mean that students will only be able to read and create new threads in any Discussion Topics associated with this Forum between the availability dates.
    • Choose to lock the Discussion Forum and choose whether to display these dates in the course calendar. When a Discussion Forum is locked, students will not be able to post any new threads in any Discussion Topics associated with this Forum but will be able to see and read previous threads that were created in the Discussion Topics associated with this Forum while the Discussion Topics were unlocked. 
    • Attach Release Conditions.

  7. Once you have finished editing, click the blue Save and Close button.
  1. Click Communication from the course navigation bar. Select Discussions from the dropdown menu. 

  2. Click the blue New button and choose New Topic from the dropdown menu. 

  3. Choose which Forum to place your Topic inside. 

  4. Choose either Open Topic to create a Discussion Topic where everyone can see and access the posted threads. Or choose Group or Section Topic to create a Discussion Topic where students will only be able to see and reply to threads from students who are in the same Group or Section as them.

  5. Give your Topic a Title and add a description if you wish. 

  6. Set and edit any additional settings.

  7. In the Properties tab you can:
    • Allow students to post anonymously to the Discussion Topic.
    • Require that a moderator (instructor) to approve posts before they are displayed for other students to read.
    • Require that students must start a thread before they can see, read, and reply to other threads.
    • Allows posts to be rated.

  8. In the Restrictions tab you can:
    • Hide the Discussion Topic from students.
    • Give the Discussion Topic a Start & End Date and choose whether these dates will display in the course calendar. Doing so will mean that students will only be able to read and create new threads in this Discussion topic in between the availability dates.
    • Choose to lock the Discussion Topic and choose whether to display these dates in the course calendar. When a Discussion Topic is locked, students will not be able to post any new threads but will be able to see and read previous threads that were created while the topic was unlocked. 
    • Attach Release Conditions.

  9. In the Assessment tab you can:
    • Attach a Grade Item to the Discussion Topic.
    • Give the Discussion a mark that you will be grading students out of. 
    • Attach a rubric.

  10. Once you are finished, click the blue Save and Close button. 

Students can access discussions in the Discussion tool. However, to make it easy for students to find the discussions you want them to participate in, you can also link discussions into your content module.

  1. Click Content from the course navigation bar. 

  2. Select the Module or Sub-Module that you want the Discussion Topic to be located in.

  3. Use the grey Existing Activities button to choose Discussions.

  4. Select your Discussion Forum from the list by clicking directly on it, the list of Topics will appear.

  5. Select your Discussion Topic from the list by clicking directly on it.

  6. The Discussion topic will appear at the bottom of the Module or Sub-Module.