Create grade items, publish grades to students and manage your feedback.

Assessing and Grading Discussions

This guide will show how to grade and assess Discussions in VU Collaborate. This is a great way to encourage students to interact with teachers, the content and each other.

If you have not already created your Discussions and associated grade item, see Using Discussions.

See the points below for the steps of how to assess and grade discussions.

As of January 2022, the Assess Discussion new layout and experiences will officially enable as default (See a layout image below).

NEW discussion assessing layouts


Step One: Accessing your Discussion

1. From the main navigation bar within the space currently being used, select Communication and then Discussions.

1 access discussion forum

You can see notifications in the Updates Widget (bell up the top of the screen with an orange dot) informing you of the new unread discussion messages. You can click this link, but it will only appear when they have not been viewed.

You will also notice notifications in the Updates Widget bell up the top of the screen with an orange dot informing you of the new unread discussion messagespng


Step Two: Assessing the Topic

1. In the Discussions list, find the Discussion topic you would like to assess. Click the small drop-down arrow to the right of the title and select Assess Topic.

2 select assess topic from dropdown menu

2. Click the Assessments tab and select the student you would like to assess.

Step 3

3. An assessment window will open in a new window to one like the picture below:

  • Student's topic message and thread
  • Rubric to evaluate assessments based on criteria.
  • Overall Grade: If there is no rubric to complete, place the score here manually.
  • Overall Feedback: Enter and provide further feedback for the student in texts.
  • If this is the first time you will provide the student with an evaluation, you will see the options: Save draft and Publish. Click Save draft to save all the information but to keep it hidden from students. Click Publish to save the information and show it to students.
  • If you have already evaluated the submission and published it to students, the following options will appear: Update and Retract. Click Update to save any changes. Click Retract if you would like to retract the evaluation.

3 NEW discussion assessing layouts explain


Step Three: Providing Discussion Feedback using Rubric

3.1 Using one rubric

1. When evaluating a students discussion thread, click on the associated rubric in the Evaluation Panel to activate a dropdown version of the rubric and evaluate according to the rubric.

New rubric layouts

2. To mark the rubric, select the allocated bar for the marked criteria, giving the max points for the associated grade chosen. In this example, the first selected box on the bar indicates an HD mark, giving the student 100/100 points for the criterion

If you need to deduct a few points from a grade, but you still wish to keep the overall grade mark in a particular grade range. Please select the box on the allocated bar and then select the current grade score; in this case, it is 100/100 points. You can then type in the needed score to stay within the correct overall grade range. For example, you could make it 80/100 points to remain within an HD mark.

You can also add feedback for each criterion; click Update once you finish marking to transfer the score to the discussion topic.

New Rubric Layout


3.2 Using multiple rubrics (for group discussion) 

1. When evaluating thread using rubrics, you can choose a grading desired rubric for each student. This allows you to mark different groups of students or classes using different rubrics.

4 using multiple rubrics attached

2. Refer back to step 3.1 for more information on how to use a rubric for marking. 

3. Select your desired grading rubric from the dropdown list.

5 select a grading rubric

When you create your Discussion, you will have selected how to score – see Step Four of Using Discussions – and this will determine how your scoring is calculated. 


Step Four: Publishing Feedback

1. Publishing or saving a draft will return you to the Assessments menu within Discussions. A score will appear in numerical and percentage form. 

Publishing or saving a draft will return you to the Assessments menu within Discussions.

2. If you saved the score as a draft, tick the checkbox in the column next to the student of choice to have their score and feedback published, press the Publish Feedback button to publish the selected status.

If you do not tick the checkbox and Publish Feedback, students will not see their grades. 

 Select checkbox in the Status column to have the score and feedback published.

Entered data is automatically saved.

4.1 Scoring and Creating Feedbacks within the Grade Book

1. Scores which are given within discussions sync with the grade book.

Grades and Feedback can also be directly added into the grade book; they will automatically transfer to the discussion area after they have been saved.

2. To access the Grade Book and edit scores and feedback, first select Assessment in the navbar and press Grades in the dropdown menu. 

6 access the assessment gradebook

3. In the Grade Items area, select the Dropdown arrow next to the grade item associated with the Discussion activity and select Enter Grades in the dropdown menu.

Select the dropdown arrow next to the grade item and select Enter Grades

4. In the Grade Book, you can enter a score for a student by selecting the Grade box in the Grade column. You can also type feedback by selecting the Pen icon in the comments column.

6.1 manually enter grades

5. Selecting the Assessment Icon 6.2 assessment icon in the Assessment column will open the assessment window found within Step Two allowing you to update the score and feedback.


Step Five: Edited Posts

Posts and Threads can be edited by students before the due date or locking of a Discussion Assessment.

Students who are the creator of a Thread can edit their specific Thread if necessary. No other Thread can be edited by that student. Students can also edit individual posts they have produced and replied to.

1. To view an edited Post or Thread you will notice a Pen Icon next to the heading of each Discussion Type. If a Discussion Type has not been edited, there will be no Pen Icon.

Edited Post Icon

2. To view all Discussion Types including the original before it was edited, select the dropdown arrow next to the heading of an edited Post or Thread and select View Post History.

View post history

3. The History window will open showcasing all previous edits, the original text will be at the bottom of the list. Press close to close the history window after viewing. 

All updates including the last updated post or thread will be listed under Message Changes.

Track Forum Post History


Step Six: How to Lock Edits

1. Discussions can be locked to stop participants from creating and editing posts and threads.

This feature is suitable for a Discussion Thread that is a part of an assessment or caters towards a mark. 

2. To add this setting, select Communication then Discussions from the menu bar.

1 access discussion forum

3. In the Discussions list, find the Discussion topic you would like to assess. Click the small drop-down arrow to the right of the title to access the dropdown menu and select Edit Topic.

Click the small drop down arrow to the right of the title and select Edit Topic

4. Once in the Edit Topic Settings, select the Restrictions tab and scroll down the page until you see Availability options.

5. If the Availability options are unticked, students are allowed to continue posting, creating and editing the discussion threads.

7 availability options of discussion topic

6. To enter a Start Date and End Date, simply tick the checkboxes and use the calendar function to enter a specific date range. Select between the three options:

  • Visible with access restricted before start/end: this option allows activity to be visible to students before the Start Date or after the End Date, but they cannot click or open it.
  • Visible with submission restricted before start/end: the activity will be visible to students before the Start Date or after the End Date. Students can access and view the activity but cannot complete it.
  • Hidden before start/end: The activity will be hidden from students until the Start Date, and/or after the End Date.


5.1 How to select a specific Start Date and End Date range

1. Tick on the options Has Start Date and/or Has End Date boxes.

2. Press the Date to open the virtual calendar, then select the month and day of choice you would like the discussion space to be available for editing by participants. Alternatively, select the Today and Now button to set the current date and time.

The Has End Date setting is the same process; choose a month and date the discussion space should close editing availability for participants.

7.1 select date and time

3. Press the Time to open a dropdown list of hours to select from, the time selected for each set will indicate the start time and end time of allowed editing time for participants.

Select the time to open a dropdown list of hours to select from



Further Support

Contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., for information and resources on technology-enhanced learning, or visit
Contact ITS Service Desk on (03) 9919 2777 or via self-service for technical support.

Admin Only