Online discussions are an essential component for interaction between students in the online environment, and threaded forums provide a familiar, easy-to-use format for facilitating conversation. Please contact STaR if you have questions about using discussions in your UA Little Rock online course.
Creating Forums and Threads
Understanding the structure of the discussion tool can be helpful when considering the design of your course. At the top level, discussion are grouped into boards that are generated for each course using the discussion tool. By default, there will be a main board where all course-level discussions will take place, and additional boards will appear if there are groups using the discussion tool for private exchange between group members.
Each discussion board is populated with forums, where the actual discussion takes place by creating threads. Forums settings can be customized to allow for different types of communication. For example, an instructor could set a group of forums designed for weekly discussion to be gradable and create a social forum for students to ask questions about the course that is not gradable.
Learn More: Create a forum
Threads represent conversations within a forum, and participants post or reply to them by typing their comments into the HTML content editor. Forum setting dictate whether students have the ability create threads or simply reply to existing threads, and thread settings allow the moderator to adjust their visibility, as well as lock them so that students can view content without posting.
Learn More: Create a thread
The discussion tool provides a variety of options for customizing settings for forums and threads so that you can tailor each to fit your pedagogical needs.
Discussion forum settings can be adjusted at any time, even after students have begun posting, and threads that have been added to the forum can be edited by the instructor, and if allowed in the forum settings, by the student who posted.
Learn more: Manage Discussions
Each forum allows you to assign roles so that you can grant or revoke privileges from users in the discussion as needed. Students, for example, can have their role adjusted from ‘participant’ to ‘reader’ so that they retain access to the discussion content without having the ability to post. Users with the ‘moderator’ role can approve or return discussion posts in a moderated forum, where all posts must be approved before they can appear to the class.
Learn more: Moderating Discussions
Discussion grading is enabled forum by forum, and you can opt to grade the forum as a whole or grade individual threads. The grading participation page shows the number of posts contributed by each student and collects them in the grading panel, where grades and feedback can be assigned.
Learn more: Grading Discussions