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Discussions

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Our built-in Discussions feature allows you and your students to chat, ask questions, leave comments and add a deeper dimension to the content they’re learning. You can leave it up to your students to start the conversation, or you can prompt them to reflect on the course material to get the ball rolling and boost participation. To receive the best answers, questions should be open-ended, elicit higher order thinking/doing/reflecting, ask students to use the course content to formulate their response and create a diversity of activities (rather than simple question and response). 


Once you’ve published your course(s), you can enable Discussions for your students. In your admin dashboard, from the left sidebar, choose Discussions:




As an admin, you’re able to enable/disable, view and moderate all of the discussions happening in your courses.


Check the box to enable in-course discussions for your students across all of your courses:



Once discussions are enabled questions and comments will automatically appear publicly whether they are posted by students, instructors or admins.

 

To manage your course discussions, select a course from the drop-down menu to filter active discussions and click Apply:




If you click View next to a comment, you’ll be taken to a new screen. This is where you’re able to directly compose an answer. To remind yourself which course this comment is coming from, just look up top. 


You can also disapprove a 
comment, so that it no longer shows in your students’ discussion area in the course:




The same Disapprove option is directly in the main Discussions area of the dashboard:



 

You’ll notice that disapproving part of a discussion does not actually delete it—you’re still able to toggle it on or off if you change your mind. If a comment is disapproved, it will not display to your students when they are viewing the course.


Note also that once discussions are posted they cannot be edited, they can only be disapproved or approved by admins. 


The last great piece of this feature is that you can receive email notifications whenever a new discussion thread is started, or someone responds to an existing one. 


Set these up under Notifications:



This is an example of the email you'll receive:



Clicking on the link in your email will bring you straight into the discussion via Student View mode, so you can answer quickly:



If you're looking to explore other ways to foster conversation in your course, check out our Disqus integration, or our post on how to use Facebook Groups to build a thriving community.

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