1. Create a Forum
  2. Create a Topic
  3. Create a Thread
  4. Reply to a Thread
  5. Video Tutorials

Discussions are a great way to increase collaboration and engagement in an online course. Sharing ideas about course content can help your learners understand the perspectives of their peers and reflect on what they have learned. You can set up forums and topics for users to ask questions, discuss course content and assignments, and work together in assigned groups and sections.

For tips on how to use Discussion Forums in Brightspace, visit the D2L video tutorial: Best Practices for using a Discussion Forum in Brightspace

The Brightspace Discussion tool contains four parts: 

Forums The discussion forum is like a folder: it organizes all related discussion topics. All discussion topics must be in a forum. Instructors must have a forum before they can create a topic. The number of forums created is up to you; some people use one forum to hold all discussion topics, others prefer to have multiple forums to hold discussion topics.
Topics A Topic holds all of the discussion posts and threads on a given subject and it  MUST be part of a forum. This is where the discussions are read and responded to. 
Threads A thread is a learner’s post in a discussion topic. Students can create a discussion thread or reply to a thread started by a classmate. A thread is part of a topic and a topic belongs to a forum.
Reply If a user responds to another user’s post, it is a reply. A reply is a part of the original poster’s thread.

Example of how discussion topics are displayed within a forum:

WARNING: Discussions CANNOT happen in an empty forum without one or more topics. The forum is the higher level category, but the Topic is where the discussion threads occur.

Create a Forum

  1. Log in to Brightspace with your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. On your Brightspace homepage, locate your course in one of the following ways:
    • Click on your course under My Courses.
    • Click the Course selector grid , then search for your course name or select your course from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the NavBar at the top of your course page, click Tools.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select Discussions.
  5. Under the Discussions List tab, click the New button.
  6. In the drop-down menu, select New Forum.
  7. Enter a title for your new forum.
  8. Enter a description for your new forum (optional).
  9. In the Options section, customize your forum using one or more of the following check boxes: NOTE: If you apply settings at the forum level, all topics in that forum will share these settings. If you prefer to have different settings for each topic, apply the desired settings within the topic itself.
    • Allow anonymous posts– Enables users to post anonymously; Names will not be displayed.
      NOTE: Anonymous posts cannot be evaluated.
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum– To ensure that posts are approved by a moderator before they display in the forum.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic– To ensure user participation.
    • Display forum descriptions in topics– To provide instructors the option to display a discussion forum description within a discussion topic description.
      NOTE: For additional information on managing discussion forums, see INSERT LINK TO MANAGING DISCUSSION FORUMS HELP PAGE
  1. Under the Restrictions tab, you have to option to customize the following settings:
    • Under Availability,  select your preferred permissions for the discussion forum including hiding, start and end dates.
    • Under Locking Options, customize the lock settings for your forum. Locking a forum prevents users from posting to any of its associated topics until it is unlocked; they can still read post made to a topic prior to it being locked.
      NOTE: Forums are unlocked by default.
  2. Click Save and Close.

You have now created a Discussion forum and need to add at least one topic in order for students to be able to post.

Create a Topic

  1. Log in to Brightspace with your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. On your Brightspace homepage, locate your course in one of the following ways:
    • Click on your course under My Courses.
    • Click the Course selector grid , then search for your course name or select your course from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the NavBar at the top of your course page, click Tools.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select Discussions.
  5. Under the Discussions List tab, click the New button.
  6. In the drop-down menu, select New Topic.
  7. Under the Properties tab, enter the following New Topic Details:
    1. From the Forum drop-down list, select the forum you want to place your topic in or click New Forum to create a new forum for your topic.
    2. Enter a topic title.
    3. Enter a topic description (optional).
    4. Under Options, you can select one or more of the following settings:
      • Allow anonymous posts – Selecting this option allows users to post anonymously to the topic. Anonymous posts display with the author “Anonymous” in the thread.
      • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic – Selecting this option will require a moderator to approve posts in this topic before they display to users.
      • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads – Selecting this option will require a user to start a new thread in the topic before viewing or replying to other threads in the topic. If this topic requires post approval, users will not be able to view or reply to other threads until their thread is approved.
    5. Under Rate posts, you have the option to enable post ratings for the discussion topic. You can choose from the following rating schemes:
      • No Ratings (Default) hides all rating controls from users.
      • Five-Star Rating Scheme allows users to assign each post a score out of five.
      • Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme allows users to increase or decrease a post’s rating.
      • Up Vote Only Rating Scheme allows users to increase a post’s rating.
  8. To grant everyone access to the topic and restrict learners to only see threads from their own group or section, under Topic Type, select Group or section topic.
    WARNING: You cannot edit the topic type once you save the topic.
  9. Enter your New Topic Details including title, description, options, ratings.
    TIP:Options have three additional settings that may be beneficial for a discussion forum including anonymous posting, posts to be approved by a moderator, and posting before viewing other threads on the discussion forum. Use your discretion which option(s) you would like to apply to your discussion topic.
  10. Under the Restrictions tab, customize the following settings:
    • Under Availability,  select your preferred permissions for the discussion forum including hiding, start and end dates.
    • Under Locking Options, customize the lock settings for your forum. Locking a forum prevents users from posting to any of its associated topics until it is unlocked; they can still read post made to a topic prior to it being locked.
      WARNING: Locking a forum prevents users from posting to it while locked. Posting to the forum will not be available until the topic is unlocked again. Students can still read posts made prior to the forum being locked.
  11. Click Save and Close. You have now created a topic under a discussion forum. You may wish to add more topics to the discussion forum by following the steps listed.

Create a Thread

  1. Log in to Brightspace with your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. On your Brightspace homepage, locate your course in one of the following ways:
    • Click on your course under My Courses.
    • Click the Course selector grid , then search for your course name or select your course from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the NavBar at the top of your course page, click Tools.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select Discussions.
  5. Click the topic where you want to create a thread.
  6. Click Start a New Thread.
  7. Enter a subject.
  8. Enter your post.
  9. Set any of the following posting options:
    • To keep the thread at the top of the list, select the Pin Thread checkbox.
    • To post anonymously, select Post as Anonymous.
    • To receive updates on the thread using your selected notification method, select Subscribe to this thread.
    • To attach a file, in the Attachments area, click Browse to locate the file that you want to attach.
    • To attach an audio recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Audio > Record. To make adjustments to your microphone selection and volume, click Flash Settings. To listen to your recording, click Play. To erase your recording, click Clear. If you have prerecorded audio and are using a supported browser, you can drag audio files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To attach a video recording, in theAttachments area, click Record Video Allow > Record. When you finish recording, click Stop. To erase your recording, click Clear. To add the recording, click Add. If you have pre-recorded video and are using a supported browser, you can drag video files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To post your thread to more than one topic, clickPost to other topics. Click Add Topics. Select the topics that you want your thread to appear in. To post in every topic simultaneously, select the Select All check box and then click Add Topics.
  10. Click Post. If the topic is moderated, your post will not appear until a moderator approves it.

Reply to a Thread

  1. Log in to Brightspace with your MyCarletonOne credentials.
  2. On your Brightspace homepage, locate your course in one of the following ways:
    • Click on your course under My Courses.
    • Click the Course selector grid , then search for your course name or select your course from the drop-down menu.
  3. In the NavBar at the top of your course page, click Tools.
  4. In the drop-down menu, select Discussions.
  5. Locate the thread you want to reply to.
  6. Do either of the following:
    • To reply to the main thread post, click Reply to Thread.
    • To reply to a particular post inside the thread, click Reply.
  7. Enter your reply in the HTML Editor. To include the original post’s text in your reply, click the Add original post text
  8. Set any of the following options:
    • To post anonymously, select Post as Anonymous.
    • To receive updates on the thread using your selected notification method, select Subscribe to this thread.
    • To attach a file, in the Attachments area, click Browse to locate the file you want to attach.
    • To attach an audio recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Audio > Record. To make adjustments to your microphone selection and volume, click Flash Settings. To listen to your recording, click Play. To erase your recording, click Clear. If you have pre-recorded audio and are using a supported browser, you can drag audio files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To attach a video recording, in theAttachments area, click Record Video Allow > Record. When you finish recording, click Stop. Click Clear to erase your recording or Add to add the recording. If you have pre-recorded video and are using a supported browser, you can drag video files onto the attachments upload target.
  9. Click Post.

You have now replied to a thread within a topic.

Video Tutorials

D2L Brightspace Technical Support Contact

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