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The Discussion Tool

This guide serves as an introduction to using the Discussion tool in Brightspace. This tool can be confusing with its verbiage and how it functions. We will explain what each term means, and how to organise the discussion area.

The discussion tool is set up with Forums, Topics, and Threads.

Discussion Forum – This is a heading or category that discussion topics will live inside. Students can’t do anything in an empty forum. It must have topics inside of it for discussion to take place.

Discussion Topic – The topic is where you state what is to be discussed. Students will then reply by starting a thread. You must designate what forum your topic is to reside in.

Discussion Thread – When a student posts their response to a topic, it will start a thread. This allows the instructor and other students to react to what they have said.

Here are two examples of how Forums and Topics are displayed in Brightspace.

Example One:

Example Two:

Discussion Lists

  1. Click on New to create a new discussion forum or topic.
  2. Click on More Actions to:
    1. copy a forum or copy a topic to a different forum (Copy).
    2. change the order in which the forums and topics are displayed (Reorder).
    3. select topics and/or forums to delete (Delete).
    4. restore deleted topics and/or forums (Restore).
  3. Click on Collapse All Forums to hide all topics. This will provide you with a better overview of all the available forums in the course.
  4. Click on Settings (top right corner) to directly go to the Discussion Settings and change the settings of all forums.

Forum Settings

Click the fold-out arrow next to the title of a forum for the following options

  1. Click Add Topic to add topics.
  2. Click Collapse Forum/Expand Forum to hide/show de topics of the forum.
  3. Click Edit Forum to edit the forum.
  4. Click Hide from Users/Make Visible to Users to hide/make visible the forum from students. Note: the topics in the forum will also be hidden from the students.
  5. Click View Forum Statistics to go to the statistics page.
  6. Click Subscribe/Unsubscribe to (un)subscribe to forum updates.
  7. Click Delete to delete the forum.

Topic Settings

Click the fold-out arrow next to the title of a topic:

  1. Click View Topic to view the topic. NB: you can also click the title of the topic to view the topic. 
  2. Click View Topic in Grid View for a clear view of the topic’s activity (which content is read/not read, who has participated, etc.).
  3. Click Edit Topic to edit the topic.
  4. Click Hide from Users/Make Visible to Users to hide/make visible the topic from students
  5. Click View Topic Statistics to go to the statistics page.
  6. Click Approve/Unapprove All threads to (un)approve all of the threads within a topic at once. Note: this option is only visible when you have enabled moderating for this topic or the corresponding forum.
  7. Click Subscribe/Unsubscribe to (un)subscribe to topic updates.
  8. Click Delete to delete the topic.
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