When you access the Discussions tool from the Communication dropdown menu on the course navigational bar, you are taken to the main screen for the Discussions tool. The Discussions screen lists all of the topics that are available to you.
For each topic, the Discussions screen lists the total number of messages posted and the number of unread messages.
Reading Messages in Discussions
There are two ways of viewing the messages inside a topic—using the Grid Style message list or the Reading Style message list. See the Discussions section in Setting Your Preferences to learn how to change your view.
In the Grid Style message list, a list of messages appears at the top of the page, showing the subject, author and date for each message. Select a message’s subject to read the message; the full message appears either at the bottom of the screen or in a new window, depending on your personal settings.
In the Reading Style message list, the full text of every message is always displayed. Select the Mark Read link below a message’s header to tell the system when you've read a message.
In either style, use the View dropdown list at the top right of the page to switch between Threaded view, where messages are grouped with their replies, and one of the Unthreaded views (All Messages, Unread Only, Flagged Only) where you can sort messages any way you like.
You can reply to any of the listed messages. Your reply will be added to the thread of that message.
Posting a Message in Discussions
To post a new discussion, select the Compose button at the top of the message list. The Compose screen appears, where you can enter the discussion text and select Post to post the discussion. When the discussion is posted, it will start a new thread.
You may also wish to add a file or audio recording to your posting. You can do this in the Attachments area by doing the following:
- Select Add a File and locate the file you want to attach. You can attach as many files as you want.
- Select Record Audio. Ensure your microphone is set up correctly and choose the Record button. Select Flash Settings to make adjustments to your microphone selection and volume. Select Clear to erase your recording.
Marking a Discussion Message as Read or Unread
If you are using the Grid Style message list, messages are automatically marked as read when you open them (depending on your site’s configuration), but if you are using the Reading Style message list or you print messages to read them, you will need to manually mark messages as read to indicate to the system that the message is no longer new.
In some cases you might also want to manually mark a message as unread—for example, if you open the message from the Grid Style message list but do not finish reading it.
Mark a message read or unread
Do one of the following:
- In the Grid Style message list, select one or more messages from the list and choose theMark Unread icon at the top of the list.
- In the Reading Style message list, select the Mark Read or Mark Unread link below the message header.
Rating a Message
To increase engagement in the Discussion forum, your instructor may allow you to rate messages using a five-star system. This rating system does not have any automatic grading functions and is not related to the Grades tool.
Flagging a Message in Discussions
Flagging messages is a good way to mark a message if you want to read it again later or monitor replies.
To flag or unflag a message, select theNot Flagged – Click to Flag or Flagged – Click to Unflag icon next to the message’s subject.
You can quickly find your flagged messages by selecting “Flagged Only” from the View dropdown list at the top right of the message list.
Printing Messages in Discussions
If you are using the Grid Style message list, you can view messages in a printable format and send the messages to your printer.
- In the Grid Style message list, select the messages you want to print.
- Select thePrint icon at the top or bottom of the list.
- Select the Print button.
Now that you're familiar with the Discussions tool, let's look at the Pager tool next.