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Indiana Wesleyan University Support Knowledge Base

How to Create a Discussion Topic


After completing this how-to you will have knowledge needed to create a discussion topic within the Discussion activity tool.  For other guides on the Discussion tool, see the Discussions topic page.


1.  To create a discussion in the Activities tool, select the "Activities" icon located within the course navbar.  


2.  Choose "Discussions" from the Activities menu.


3.  To create a new discussion topic within a discussion forum, select the dropdown menu within the "New" button.


2.  Choose "New Topic" from the dropdown menu.


3.  The Properties tab allows the faculty to set the general information for the topic such as the name, type, and description.


3a.  Within the Forum section, select the forum from the "Choose a Forum" to display the discussion topic within.


3b. In the Topic Type, select the radio button to open the topic so that all students can access the topic and its contents or select the radio button to make the topic a group topic.


3c.  In the "Title" field, enter a title for the discussion topic.  This should match the title given to the discussion HTML page located within the Course Menu tool.  


3d.  The description text box should contain a link to the corresponding discussion HTML page in the course menu for students to review that will include more in-depth instructions.  Paste the following text into the Description text box:  For detailed information, instructions, and resources, please review [Title of Discussion].  See example below.  This will guide student to the HTML page where the full instructions, resources, background, etc. live.


i.  Highlight the discussion topic title located within the description text box, copy the text, and select the quicklink symbol.


ii.  From the Quicklink menu, select Course Menu.

iii.   From the Course Menu, choose the workshop/module that the discussion lives within.

iv.  Select the pencil icon next to the desired discussion.


v.  Paste the discussion topic title into the "Title" field.


vi.  In the Target section, select the radio button to open in a "New Window".


vii.  After verifying that the exact title of the discussion topic appears in the Title box, select the "Insert" button.


3e.  Within the Options section, the faculty can choose any or all of the following options:  Allow anonymous posts, A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic, and Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads.

i.  Selecting the radio button next to "Allow anonymous posts", allows users to post anonymously to the topic.  Anonymous posts will display with the author "Anonymous" in the thread.


ii.  Selecting the radio button beside "A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic" requires that a moderator approve posts within the topic before they will display to users.


iii.  Selecting the radio button next to "Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads" requires that a user post within in the discussion forum before they are able to see the posts of other users.


3f.  Within the "Rate Posts" section, faculty can make a choice from the dropdown menu which can allow users to rate the discussion posts of others using a number of different rating schemes:  Five-Star rating scheme, Up Vote/Down Vote rating scheme, Up Vote Only rating scheme, or No Ratings which is the default.


4.  In the Restrictions tab, faculty have the opportunity to determine if and when the discussion topic is available and who it is available to.  **NOTE** Placing a restriction on a discussion topic can prevent students from accessing the topic if not applied correctly.


4a.  To determine whether or not the discussion topic is visible to students, faculty can place a checkmark within the "Hide from Users" checkbox to hide or unhide the topic from students.  The "Hide from Users" option is typically used by faculty to hide the discussion topic until they have finished making edits and/or changes.


4b.  Within the Availability section, faculty can set a start and/or end date for the discussion topic.  If a start date is set, the discussion topic will not be available until that date.  If an end date is set, the discussion topic will not be available after that date.  To set a start or end date, place a checkmark within the "Has Start Date" and/or "Has End Date" checkbox and set a date and/or time.  Faculty can also push the start and end dates to the Calendar tool by placing a checkmark within the "Display in Calendar" checkbox.


4c.  Within the Locking Options section, faculty can make the decision whether to unlock a topic, lock a topic, or unlock the topic just for a specified date range, by selecting the appropriate radio button.  If the "Unlock topic for a specific date range" option is chosen, faculty can also place a checkmark within the "Display in Calendar" checkbox to push the dates to the Calendar tool.


4d.  Within the Release Conditions section, faculty can set release conditions.  Release conditions are conditional requirements that restrict access or visibility to a specific area.  Users are required to satisfy the release conditions before the restrictions are removed.  See the guide on Release Conditions for more information.


4e.  In the Group and Section Restrictions section, faculty are able to restrict the discussion topic to specific groups and or sections by placing a checkmark within the "Restrict this topic to the following groups and sections" checkbox.  Faculty must also select the "Add Groups and Sections" button to designate which groups or sections will receive access to the topic.


5.  In the Assessment tab, faculty can tie the discussion topic to a grade item, determine the possible points, add a rubric, and allow assessment of a users post as well as set a calculation method.


5a.  Within the Grade Item section, faculty can associate the discussion topic to an existing grade item by selecting the dropdown menu in the "Choose a grade item" field or a new grade item can be created to associate the discussion topic to.  For more information on creating a grade item, 


5b.  In the "Score Out Of" field, a value is entered that represents the denominator value for the topic score.


5c.  Within the Rubrics section, a rubric can be added for assessing the student's progression towards the criteria and objectives of the activity.


i.  Select the "Add Rubric" button and choose a rubric from the displayed list by placing a checkmark in the "appropriate checkbox located next to the rubric. 


ii.  Once the correct rubric has been chosen, select the "Add Selected" button.


5d.  In the Posts section, faculty can allow posts within the topic to be assessed according to the calculation method chosen from the dropdown list. This would allow the instructor to assess each individual post that a student contributes to a topic, instead of assigning one grade for all a student's posts.  For example, in a typical discussion, the faculty would assign one grade for the student's initial post and all of their responses to other students' posts.  Selecting this option would require that a score be assigned to their initial post plus all of their responses separately.


6.  In the Objectives tab, faculty can associate existing learning objectives to the discussion post.  **NOTE** National and Global faculty should not modify existing learning objectives.


7.  Once the discussion topic has been set up, select the "Save and Close" button to save your selections.  Also moving from one tab to the next will save the selections made on the previous tab.


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