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A Visual Guide to Understanding the Discussion Tool

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This handout will help you understand the difference between the NEW FORUM and NEW TOPIC buttons in the D2L discussion tool. It also shows how to organize discussion activities where different groups of students discuss different topics. Finally, it will show you how to restrict a discussion activity to just one group or section of students.

Setting up Course Discussions for Groups and Sections


Written by SRU Ed Tech

February 11, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Posted in Discussions

Grade Discussion Participation with the D2L Discussion Grader

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Many online instructors use the Desire2Learn Discussions tool to re-create the classroom interaction that occurs in their face-to-face courses. It is common for instructors to award points based on student participation. The D2L discussion grader tool makes this process easy by allowing you to view all of a student’s postings collected in one spot, and by interfacing with the gradebook.

Set up the Discussion Grader

1) Click on Discussions in your course navbar
2) Locate the discussion topic that you would like to grade. Click the drop-down button next to its title, then hit Edit Topic

discussion grader 1

3) In the next screen, click on the Assessment tab.

4) Use the Grade Item drop-down box to select the gradebook column where the scores will be sent. If you have not already set up a gradebook column for discussion participation, use the New Grade Item button to do so.

5) In the Score Out Of box, enter the maximum points that that students can earn from their participation.

discussion grader 2
6) Leave the box labeled “Assess each message and automatically calculate the topic score ” unchecked

7) Click Save and Close.

Grade the Discussions

1) Click on Discussions in your course navbar

2) Locate the topic that you wish to grade. Click the drop-down button next to its name, then click Assess Topic

discussion grader 3


3) The next screen will present you with a list of all of the students in the course. Click on Topic Score for the first student.
4) A pop-up window will  appear. Scroll down to view a list of all of the student’s discussion postings (original posts and replies).

discussion grader 4a
5) After reading the posts, scroll back up, then enter a score in the Topic Score box.

6) Check the Published box.

7) Click Save and Close.

The window will close, and you may then move down to the next student. As you proceed, each student’s score and feedback will be sent to the Grades tool.

Written by SRU Ed Tech

December 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Discussions