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In the Discussions area, you can post messages and read and reply to messages posted by others. You can use the Discussions area to share thoughts about your course material, ask questions, share files, or work together with your peers on assignments and homework.

Index

Tiny Link

1. Accessing Discussions

Click the Discussions link on your course navigation bar. The main discussions page lists the topics available to you, organized into forums. Click a topic name to enter the topic and join in the discussion.

2. Reading messages

To view the threads within a topic, click on the name of the topic from the main Discussions list. This will bring you to the View Topic screen, which displays all the threads in that topic. There are two different settings for the default view for viewing a topic.

The reading style setting is shown below, viewing a topic called "Introduction."

 
In the Reading Style message list, the full text of every message is always displayed. Click the action arrow to the right of the thread title for a list of options. This will allow you to mark all replies in a thread as read or unread, and also allow you to flag a thread.

 

The grid view shows a concise list of replies, displaying only the title of the reply from the main page, with a window below to show the content of the reply. There are two different view styles within Grid view, Threaded and Unthreaded. The Unthreaded view has three separate modes, All Posts, Unread Only, and Flagged Only. Users can change between these two styles and their categories by changing the option in the View dropdown and clicking the Apply button.

The Threaded view shows the replies indented below the post that they are replied from, while the Unthreaded view displays all messages without indentation. The listing order is identical in Threaded and Unthreaded, with replies to a post appearing directly below the parent post. Unthreaded differs by only showing the posts, without any indentation or organization.

Unthreaded View 

Unthreaded is shown here on the left. The Threaded view is on the right.

3. Finding new messages

Once a discussion gets going, new messages can come in very quickly. To help you keep on top of things, new messages are identified in a number of places.
     1. On your course homepage, the Updates widget lists the total number of unread messages for all discussion topics in your course.

    2. On the main discussions page, the number of unread messages appears beneath each topic. To see only topics with new messages, select "Topics with Unread" from the Display drop-down list at the top of the page.


    3. Inside a topic's message list, the Discussions List at the left of the screen displays topics with unread messages in bold.

This is an option only if you have chosen to Show The Discussion Topics List in the Discussion Settings. See Changing Your Settings.

 

4. Posting a message

Enter the topic would would like to post in and select .

  1. Type a Subject.
  2. Type your Message.
  3. Set any other message options you want. (These options may not be available, depending on the course and the topic.)

To

Do this

Attach a file

In the Attachments area, click Add a File and locate the file you want to attach. You can attach as many files as you want.

Post your message anonymously

Select Author anonymously. The availability of this option depends on the instructor's original settings.


     4. Click Post.

If the topic is moderated, your message does not appear until it is approved. Moderated topics are indicated by the  Messages Require Approval icon beside the topic name at the top of the message list.

4.1. Saving a draft

You can save your message as a draft instead of posting it right away. Saving a draft lets you return to the message later to edit it before posting it to the topic.

To save a draft, click the Save as Draft button instead of the Post button when writing a message.

To find a saved draft in Grid mode, view the message list for the topic where you created the draft and select "Drafts" from the View drop-down list in the top right corner of the page.

To find a saved draft in Reading Mode, click the Filter By: Drafts option above the threads in the topic.

5. Replying to a message

  1. Locate the message you want to reply to.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If you're using the Grid Style message list, click the subject of the message you want to reply to, and then click   at the top of the message.
    • If you're using the Reading Style message list, click the Reply link below the header of the message you want to reply to.
  3. Type your reply in the Message field. To include the original message's text in your reply, click the Add Original Message Text link.
  4. Set any other message options you want. (These options may not be available, depending on the course and the topic.)

To

Do this

Attach a file

In the Attachments area, click Add a File and locate the file you want to attach. You can attach as many files as you want.

Make the message anonymous

Select Author anonymously. The availability of this option depends on the instructor's original settings.


     5. Click Post.

6. Rating messages

Some of your courses may use message ratings. If you can rate messages, when you view a message a row of five blue stars is displayed to the right of the message.

Click the number of stars you think the message deserves. Your rating is anonymous.

Each message's Average Rating is displayed as a row of five blue stars. The filled-in stars indicate the average rating.

You can search by average rating in the Sort By field to find the highest rated messages. In a big discussion, this is a good way to find the best messages.

7. Searching for messages

  1. Enter the Discussion topic you want to search.
  2. Enter the terms you want to find in the Search For field and click Search.

To see all messages again, click Clear Search at the top or bottom of the message list.

8. Printing messages

If you are using the Grid Style message list, you can view messages in a printable format and send the messages to your printer.

  1. In the Grid Style message list, select the messages you want to print.
  2. Click the Print icon at the top or bottom of the list.
  3. Click the Print button.

In the Reading Style, you can print individual threads in a similar fashion. On the Topic page, click the action arrow to the right of the thread, and select Print Thread.

9. Flagging a message

Flagging messages is a good way to mark a message if you want to read it again later or monitor replies.

To flag or unflag a message in Grid Style, click the Not Flagged - Click to Flag this item or Flagged - Click to Unflag this item icon next to the message's subject.

You can quickly find your flagged messages by selecting "Flagged Only" from the View drop-down list at the top right of the message list.

In Reading Style, click the action arrow to the right of the post you want to flag and click on Flag Post.

10. Changing your settings

Personal settings let you customize the appearance of the Discussions tool to suit your reading style and screen resolution.

To modify your settings, click the  link at the top right corner of the main discussions page or within a topic.

Settings you may want to customize include:

SettingFunction
Display SettingsBoth of the checkboxes under this heading change the view on the Message List page. Select whether or not to display the list of discussion topics on the left when on the Message List page, and whether or not deleted messages will be visible. This will only show you deleted messages you have access to see.
Default ViewSelect either Reading Style, where you can see the full text of all messages, or Grid Style, where the subject and author are listed in a grid and you select messages to read their full text. Try both to see which one you prefer. (If you are using a slow connection, Grid Style will load faster than Reading Style.)
Reply SettingsSelect this option to automatically quote the original message when you reply to another user's message.
Default Rating SchemeThis option changes how the posts in Discussions will be rated. Usually, the Five-Star rating Scheme is used.
Topic DescriptionsUse this to show any posted description of a Discussion Topic on the Message List page.
Default Threading StyleThis option changes the default display setting in Grid View between Threaded and Unthreaded. The two styles are discussed above.
Show the preview paneIf you're using the Grid Style message list, you can read messages in a preview pane at the bottom of the screen by turning this setting on. Turn it off to read messages in a pop-up window.
Show the search barThis option will show the search bar on the topic page so the user can search within that topic.
Post Fields to DisplayChecking this option displays the Post ID or Org Defined ID for messages in the Grid View.
Character LimitsThis option allows you to determine the number of characters of the Subject to display for each message in the Message List view. Must be an integer between 1 and 150.

 

11. Following a discussion forum, thread, or message

You can receive email notifications for discussion forums, threads, or messages that you want to follow.

This option can generate significant message volume

In a busy course this may generate significant message volume. Please subscribe to Discussions wisely to make the most of this feature.

11.1. Subscribe to notifications

Subscribing to a topic or forum allows you to receive notifications on a forum, thread, or message.

In the Discussions List:
    Click the arrow next to the forum or topic you wish to subscribe to. Click the  icon to receive notifications on a forum, thread, or message.
In a specific topic:
    Click the  icon to receive notifications on a forum, thread, or message.

 

For either of these options, a pop-up window should open that will allow you to customize how the notification is sent. The pop-up window is shown below:


   The option to "Send me an instant notification" will produce the most volume of mail. Be careful when choosing the notification method.

11.2. Unsubscribe from notifications

In the Discussions List:
    Click the icon to turn off notifications.
In a specific topic:
    Click the  icon to turn off notifications.

For either of these options, you will be prompted to make sure you want to stop following the forum or topic.

12. Managing discussion subscriptions and settings

You can make changes to your subscriptions in Notifications, and in the area of Discussions.

The Subscriptions area will let you change what forums or topics you are subscribed to, and how you receive notifications from any of them. From this page, you can change the notification style for each individual forum, and also the default notification method.

12.1. Manage subscriptions

  1. Click the Discussions link on your course home navbar, and click Subscriptions. It is part of the Discussion Areas top menu.
  2. Make the changes you want to the Default Notification Method setting, or unsubscribe from any forum, thread or message.