If you used Discussions previously, get ready to be delighted. It is now easier to use, easier to score, and much more versatile. The new Discussions tool allows you to pose a question to your class where students can respond to you and to each other. The layers of conversation are easy to see so both students and teachers can easily follow the conversation.
Scored or unscored
You now have the choice of making a Discussion scored or unscored. Scored discussions
are aligned to an assignment and show up in the Grade Book. When evaluating the response, you can filter the results to highlight one student at a time so you can see the totality of their responses at once before assigning a score. As with any assignment, you can assign a Discussion to multiple classes and it will create a separate discussion for each section. The assigned and due dates will determine when the discussion will be available to students. In the For Students section of the Assignment Editor is where you identify the assignment as a Discussion and compose the discussion’s initial post. It’s that easy!
Unscored discussions are not created as part of an assignment. They are accessed through the Discussions tab on the left navigation bar. When assigning unscored discussions, you still determine the start and end dates and times, which controls when the students will have access to them.
Flagging questionable content
Unfortunately, sometimes students make poor choices regarding things they post online. And, when hurtful or offensive things are online, there’s a chance that lots of students could see it before a teacher can get to it. That’s why in Discussions, anyone in the discussion, a student or a teacher, can flag content as questionable. Doing so will immediately alert you through a notification. If you want to hide the post from view, you have the option to archive it, along with any replies to it. In the event that the post needs to then be evaluated by an administrator, administrators can also be given tool rights to Discussions and then filter discussions by teacher to find a discussion with an unresolved flag. You can flag questionable content in both scored and unscored discussions.
There are several simulations and videos available to help you learn how to navigate through Discussions.