Discussions | How to create a Discussion Forum

As you may have already learned in the Discussions tool in Brightspace article, the Discussions tool can be a useful feature to facilitate interaction and the exchange of ideas between students.

This article will show you how to create a Discussion Forum.

Students can only publish posts or comments within an already existing Topic. Therefore, please make sure to have created Topics within a Forum before asking your students to work together in the Discussion tool.

Creating a Discussion Forum

Please, follow the next steps to do so:

1. Navigate to Communication in the navigation bar

2. Click on Discussions. This will take you  to the Discussions page

3. Click on the Discussions List tab

4. Click on the New button. This will open a drop-down menu 

5. Click on New Forum. This will take you to the page to create a new forum

discussions homepage

6. Enter a title for your forum

7. (Optional) Select the option Create a new topic in this forum with the same title to automatically create one topic in this forum with the same title. Creating a topic will enable students to participate

8. Add a Description to let students know what is the forum about and what topics can they expect of it

9. Under the section Options, select the extra possibilities that Discussion forums offer:

Allow anonymous posts

Enabling this option will allow students to create anonymous posts so it is not possible for other students to know who is the author. Lecturers and course coordinators will always have the possibility to know who created a post.

You can check who created an anonymous post by clicking on Show Author, next to the name of the thread as shown in the image below. This will only display the post's author, not to the rest of the students.

show author button next to thread name
A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum

By enabling this option, students can create posts but these won't be published until you approve them manually. This feature can be useful to filter the content of threads.

If this option is enabled, you will see a warning icon as a Moderated post next to the forum or topic name. You will also see the option Approve Thread in the thread drop-down menu; by clicking on it, you will approve the post which will get published. Non-approved posts will show an orange bar on the left side of their name.

moderated post view with drop-down menu after clicking on black arrow next to thread name. Approve thread option appears
Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic

This option will disable user participation from the forum until they start a thread on their own. This automatically forces students to create threads and participate if they want to read or reply to other threads.

Display forum description in topics

If this option is enabled, students will see the forum description in the overview of topics. Otherwise, they will only see the description once they access the topic page.

10. When you are ready, click on Save and Close

Remember, you need to create a topic within a forum so that students can create threads and interact with each other. Check how to do this in How to create a topic in a Discussion Forum.

new forum creation screen

You have now successfully created a discussion forum!

Continue to the article How to create a Discussion Topic to learn how to add discussion topics within your forum.


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