Discussion Environment/Using Discussion

  1. Begin by clicking Discussions from within Communication in the Left Navigation.

    If your instructor chooses, Discussion may also appear in sequence within Content.

  2. As a User within the course, you may add a Discussion by clicking the Add Discussion Icon Add Discussion icon. The Discussion must be given a Subject title and a Message. There is also the option upload an associated file if necessary.
    • Use the pencil and trashcan icons to edit or delete a discussion you have created.
    • You may not edit discussions made by your instructor or another student.
  3. If your instructor has already created Discussions in which you are meant to participate, you can view one by clicking View Discussion.
    • Graded discussions will be labeled as such next to the discussion title.
    • Also, once you enter a graded discussion it will be labeled as such at the top of the page, including the Due Date.
  4. If the discussion is graded, the instructor may leave you Grade Feedback which is available from within the Gradebook. Typically, Grade Feedback is only visible after grades have been released unless otherwise indicated by your instructor.
  5. The instructor’s message will be displayed at the top of the page. This should contain the discussion topic, instructions, and other notes from the instructor regarding the discussion.
  6. By default posts are expanded on the page. You can collapse all posts by clicking the Collapse Posts button. Click it a second time to expand all posts again.
    • Once there are multiple posts and comments in a discussion you can collapse all posts and then expand individual replies and their subsequent comments by clicking the Expand Post button.
  7. The Show Only New button can be used to review replies and comments that have been made since the last time you viewed the discussion board.
    • Click the Show All button to return to view all posts. 
    • This button is only available if there are posts that have not been viewed at least once.
  8. You can click the Subscribe button on the post to subscribe to receive notifications on new replies and comments for the discussion.
  9. Click the green Reply button when you are ready to submit to the discussion. The text box will open with the text editor for you to enter your Reply. You can also use the paperclip icon to upload a document to your Reply. Click the Cancel button to cancel your Reply.
    • This will reply to the main topic of the discussion. Some discussions allow for more than one post and some will only allow for a single post. Those that do not allow multiple submissions will no longer display the green Reply button once your first submission has been made. If you are unsure whether or not a Discussion allows for more than one Reply post confer with your instructor.
    • Once you have posted your Reply it will post below the main discussion topic. Your name and photo (if available) will display next to your post along with the date/time of the post.
    • While you can add text and format it using the HTML toolbar, you can also embed a video into your reply by clicking the YouTube button on the HTML toolbar. Paste the copied code from YouTube OR the video’s URL into the appropriate field. You may also choose a start time for the video. When you are finished click OK to save. The video will now be embedded into the discussion reply.
    • When uploading a photo, for PC users, the attachment feature will upload it as a downloadable file. A photo can be copied and pasted directly into the text box in order to display the photo in-line with text. However, this process is a bit different for Mac users because they cannot copy and paste the photo. Instead, the attachment feature should be used to post photos in-line with text. 
    • If others have commented on your post this will be displayed in parenthesis below your name. It will also tell you if there are any new comments since you last viewed the discussion. For example a Reply with two comments and one new comment will be labeled as: (2 comments, 1 new).
  10. You can also comment on posts made by other users in the course/site by clicking Comment on the bottom right of their post. Click the Cancel button to cancel your comment.
    • If others comment on your post the number of comments will be listed under the date/time display of your reply.
  11. You can also use Callouts to mention another user within your comment. To do this, type the @ symbol, begin typing their name, and then chose their name from the pop-up list that appears. This will tag the user within your comment and alert them to your mention according to their notification settings.
    • If another user mentions you using a Callout you will be notified according to your notification settings for Discussions.
    • The number of New Mentions will also be listed on the Discussions homepage as part of the Discussion board's information. Click to view the discussion to review your mentions. 
  12. You may be able to delete or edit your Replies and Comments as well.
    • To edit your reply/comment you can click the pencil icon to open it and edit the content. Doing so will label the post as edited and it will display the date and time of the last edit as well.
    • To delete your comment click the trashcan icon.'
    • Please note, this feature may be disabled by your instructor and therefore may not be available for all Discussion boards. 
  13. Once there are multiple replies and comments within a discussion you can use the search bar at top of Discussion to locate specific posts. You can search by keywords or names to locate content.
  14. Below the search bar the number of replies you have made, as well as the number of comments you have made, will be displayed as links that can be clicked in order to locate your own posts within the discussion.
  15. Other features are available throughout the discussion. The following are available on discussion replies but are not available on comments:
    • Favorites – Each reply will have the option of being favorited. To do so you can click the yellow star below the post. The number of favorites a post has will be labeled in yellow as well. This is visible to all users that have access to the discussion.
    • Bookmarking – Discussions can become rather long once multiple replies and comments have been made. Click the blue bookmark icon on a post in order to mark your place in the discussion. Next time you return to the discussion you will return to the bookmarked post and any new posts will be displayed underneath while any previous posts will remain above the bookmark.
    • Upvoting/Downvoting – Each post is labeled with both a green up arrow and a red down arrow. Clicking the green arrow will “upvote” the post and clicking the red arrow will “downvote” the post. Use this to express your overall thought on a post within the discussion.