This document covers setting up D2L Discussions. The Discussions tool is a collaborative area for students and instructors to post, read and reply to threads on different topics, share thoughts about course materials, ask questions, share files, or work with peers on assignments and homework.


Important Note: All settings made at the forum level automatically filter down to the topic level. Make sure the forum settings and topic settings match to ensure the intended discussion availability for students.


Creating a Forum

Access the Discussion tool. In order to create a discussion, you must first create a Forum. Forums organize discussion topics into categories. You can have multiple forums and multiple topics within each forum, but you must create a forum before you can create a topic since all topics must belong to a forum.


To create a new forum, click “New” and choose “Forum” from the drop-down menu.


Enter a title and optional description for the forum. If you wish to create a new topic with the same name, check the box “Create a new topic in this forum with the same title.” Otherwise, you can add a topic later.



Under “Options”:
  • Determine if you want to “allow anonymous posts.” Selecting this option will allow users to post anonymously to topics. Since the post will display as an anonymous author, this setting is typically not recommended. A scenario in which this setting would be useful would be to solicit course feedback from students.

  • Determine if “a moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum.” Selecting this option will require a moderator (instructor) to approve posts to topics before they display to users.

  • Determine if “users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic.” This option will require a user to start their own new thread in each topic before they are able to view or reply to other threads in the topic. This can help foster originality among postings. Note: If the forum also requires post approval, users will not be able to view or reply to other threads until their thread is approved by the moderator (instructor).


Set the “Availability.” A forum will only display to users during the specified date range. If you wish to always display the forum, but limit when users can make new postings, lock the forum instead.



Set the “Locking Options.” A locked forum will always be visible, but will not accept new postings.


On the “Restrictions” tab, you can attach “Release Conditions” or “Group Restrictions.” For more information, see the Release Conditions article or the Group Discussions article.



Click “Save and Add Topic” to add a topic to the forum. If you have elected to automatically create a topic with the same name, or wish to set topics up at another time, click “Save and Close” to return to the Discussion page.

Creating a Topic

Click “New” and select “Topic” from the drop-down menu.

Note: If you are continuing from setting up a forum (above), the “New Topic” page will display and the forum you just created will be selected by default. Please continue to step 10.


Select a forum from the “Forum” drop-down menu, or create a new forum now.
Enter a title and optional description for the topic.


Set the desired “Options." These options are the same as the forum options (refer to Step 4 above). Remember, if any options were set at the forum level, they will filter down and overwrite any settings at the topic level.


Set the “Availability” settings. These options are the same as the forum options (refer to Step 5 above). Remember, any availability settings at the forum level will filter down and overwrite any availability settings at the topic level.


Set the “Locking Options.” These options are the same as the forum options above (refer to Step 6 above). Remember, any locking options set at the forum level will filter down and overwrite the locking settings at the topic level.


On the “Restrictions” tab, you can attach “Release Conditions” or “Group Restrictions.”



On the “Assessment” tab, you can link a discussion topic to an item in Grades.

Please see the Assessing Discussions article more information on setting up discussion assessments.


Viewing and Posting to a Discussion

Enter a topic by clicking on the topic name.


Instructors can create new threads by clicking “Start a New Thread.”


Instructors can read all students threads. Enter a thread by clicking on the thread name.


Instructors can reply to a thread by entering the thread and clicking “Reply to Thread.”


To reply to a user specific response, click “Reply.”