Course Materials: Discussions

Creating Discussions

You can create an interactive Discussion for your students. Each Discussion has threaded commenting that allows students to respond to any post by another student. These comments can also be moderated, which will require a Course Admin (the teacher) to approve each post before it is published. Deleted posts will are listed under Moderate Posts in the Course Options in the left column of the Course Profile.

To create a discussion, follow these steps:

  1. Click Add Materials 
  2. Select Add Discussion.
  3. Fill out the Discussion form.

    • Enter a Description (optional instructions for the Discussion).
    • To have the Discussion appear in the Upcoming feed, enter a Due Date. If you do not enter a Due Date, the Discussion will remain accessible in the Discussions index or Course Folder.
    • To make the Discussion a graded item, check Enable Grading and adjust the grading preferences.
  4. Advanced Options

    • Use Individually Assign to only display the discussion to a specific member of a course or a grading group.
    • Add Learning Objectives to add a custom learning objective, common core, or state standard. Once you have aligned your material with learning objectives, use the Mastery tool to track your students' progress.
    • Lock prevents students from posting in the discussion. You may want to lock the discussion after the due date has passed.
    • Published enables you to display or hide the discussion from your students.
    • Require students to post before revealing other responses: This prevents students from being able to see their peers' responses before they post. If this is enabled, the other students' posts will be greyed out:

      You may choose this option to encourage originality in your students' posts.
    • Copy to Course: Click this to simultaneously create this discussion in another section you administer
  5. Click Create to complete.

Note: Discussions can also be created within course folders, or added to folders after their creation.

Sharing Discussions

Click Here to see our article on Shared Discussions

You can share your ungraded discussion with other courses. This option is located in the Advanced options at the bottom of the popup window when creating a discussion.

Sharing the discussion will give the discussion a ShareID that other instructors can use to join their classes into the same discussion. You can also automatically share the discussion with your courses and sections.

Limitations of Shared Discussions:

  • If you do not see the option to share the discussion under Advanced, it is likely that Grading is enabled. Graded discussions cannot be shared with other courses.
  • You cannot share discussions after they have been created.
  • Shared discussions are not available across linked sections.

 

Reading Discussion Posts

Course admins and students see the discussion toolbar, which floats at the top of the discussion as you scroll through the posts. 

 

The toolbar includes the following tools:

Post Count and Unread Posts

 

The Post Count displays the total number of posts and replies on the discussion. The Unread Posts displays the number of posts and replies that have been added since you last loaded the page.

Note: Opening a discussion on the mobile app does not affect the Unread Posts count. Posts that you read while logged into the Schoology mobile app will still be marked as unread the next time you log in to the web version. 

Unread Posts are highlighted in orange on the right side of the post, such as in the example below:

Expand All and Collapse All

    

On very long discussions, you may find it useful to use Collapse All to make the page easier to scan and to find posts more quickly. Clicking Collapse All truncates all posts and hides all replies to each post. 

To expand the text on a particular post, click Read More next to where the post is truncated. 

To show the replies on a particular post, click View Replies below the post.

To display all posts and all replies, click Expand All

Scroll to Top

When you are finished reading the latest posts by your students, you can quickly jump back to the top of the discussion in one click by clicking the Scroll to Top icon in the toolbar:

 

Formatting Posts

Sometimes, students opt to draft their discussion posts in another program — such as Microsoft Word or another text editor — and then copy and paste the response into the Schoology discussions post field. Copying and pasting can sometimes bring in unwanted formatting from another program. If this happens, encourage your students to use the new Remove Formatting button in the post field.

Grading Discussion Posts

Highlight User

Click Highlight User to filter posts by author. Clicking Highlight User displays a list of members in the course, accompanied by the number of posts each member has contributed to this discussion. The total posts appear in green, and the number of posts you have not yet read appears in orange. Students who have not yet posted to the discussion appear at the bottom of the drop-down menu under Not Submitted.

Selecting a student from the drop-down menu highlights all of the posts that student has created in this discussion, allowing you to see all of the discussion posts by a particular student at a glance.

Unread Posts

Discussions are one of the most dynamic course material types on Schoology. To help you stay organized and keep track of the posts you haven’t seen yet while grading students’ posts to a discussion, you can now see the number of unread posts on a discussion right from the Course Materials page. The number of unread posts appears in orange next to the discussion’s title.

 

Administering Discussions

Course Admins have a star icon next to their names on discussion posts. This helps students see at a glance which posts may be directions or feedback from the instructor, and which are from their fellow students.

Grading

Students who have not yet received  a grade for the discussion have the grading button and orange indicator next to their post.

Clicking the grading button brings up the grading window, where you are able to enter a grade and a comment for the student. This grade applies to all of the students' posts on the discussion, not just the one you have selected.

 

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