Creating Discussions

While many use the iCollege Discussion Tool is a collaboration area that allows for asynchronous discussions of topics and sharing of information between students and groups of students.  It can also be considered an assessment tool.

The Discussion Tool allows students to submit (attach and upload) files and embed video and audio files into a discussion posting much like the Assignment Tool.  The Discussion Tool has the advantage of allowing to discuss and comment upon each other’s submissions.  Like the Assignment Tool, it can include rubrics.


Before using the tool, it is important to know the difference between Forums, Topics, and Threads/Replies.

  • Forum is a container for Topics.
  • Topic contains the discussion itself.
  • Thread/Reply contains an individual student’s post to the Topic, along with others’ replies to that post.

Forums

Watch the following tutorial to learn about forums.

To create a Forum:

  1. From the course navigation bar, click Assessments.
  2. Select Discussions.
  3. Click the New drop-down menu and select New Forum.
  4. Enter the Title.
  5. Enter the Description.
  6. Select the Options you want for the Forum.

Topics

Watch the following tutorial to learn about Topics.

To create a Topic:
    1. From the course navigation bar, click Assessments.
    2. Click Discussions.
    3. Click the New drop-down menu and select New Topic.
    4. Choose an existing Discussion Forum from the Forum drop-down menu or click New Forum if you have not already created a forum.
    5. Enter the Title for the Discussion Topic.
    6. Enter the Description.
    7. Select the Options you want for the Forum.
    8. Click Save.

Grading a Discussion Topic

Watch the following tutorial to learn how you can grade a discussion topic.

Grading Options for a Topic:
  1. When you create or edit a discussion topic, there are four tabs displayed on the screen. Click the Assessments tab.
  2. Select the Grade Item from the drop-down menu.  The Grade Item is the column in the grade book where the grades for this discussion will be entered. If no Grade Item exist, click New Grade Item to create a new one.
    Discussion assessment tab
  3. In the Score Out of field, enter the maximum points/score for this discussion.
  4. If you created a rubric in iCollege for grading the discussion, click the Add Rubric button to select the grading rubric.
  5. For a discussion, you may require students to make at least 2 – 3 posts to a discussion topic: an initial response and replies to classmates.  Most faculty members will issue one grade for all posts.  However, if you want to assign a separate grade for each post, click the checkbox to Allow assessment of individual posts and select a Calculation method from the drop-down menu.
  6. Click Save and Close.

 

Best Practices

  • Set the rules and expectations for online communication and interaction.
  • Create a course discussion for general questions so that all students can benefit from the answers provided.

 

License

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iCollegeNow by Tracy Adkins, Crystal Bundrage, Kathleen Mapson, and Will Kerr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.