Discussion Tool

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The Discussion Tool

While many use the MyCourses 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. 

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


Watch the following tutorial to learn about forums. 

To create a Forum: 

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


Watch the following tutorial to learn about Topics. 

To create a Topic: 

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

Grade 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.
  3. In the Score Out of field, enter the maximum points/score for this discussion. 
  4. If you created a rubric in MyCourses 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

View Discussion Statistics 

The Discussion Tool can display statistics on the number of threads a student has started, replies made to threads, and how many posts they have read. 

To View Discussion Statistics 

  1. Click Assessments on the course navigation bar, then click Discussions
  2. Click Statistics

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

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