Create an online forum for questions, comments, and general communication as a class.

Creating a Discussion Forum and Topics

This guide shows how to create a discussion forum and topic in a VU Collaborate delivery space. It is helpful to provide a central repository for questions, and comments and to encourage online socialising amongst students.

Step One: Create a Discussion Forum

Forums are used to organise your discussion topics into categories.
You must create a forum before you can create a topic as all topics belong to forums. The topics are where posting and replying occur.

Access Discussions

1. In a unit space on the navbar, click Communication then Discussions.

access discussions tool

2. From New button, select New Forum to create a discussion forum.

create new forum

Enter Title and Descriptions

3. Enter the Forum Title and Description

*Optional (a): you can also create a discussion topic in this forum by ticking on the option. Alternatively, go to step 2 on how to create a topic.

enter forum title description

4. Once done, select Save and Close.

di save close button


Step Two: Create or Edit a Discussion Topic

Create a new Dropbox folder or edit an existing Dropbox.

Create a New Topic

Select New Topic from the New button.

create new topic

Edit an existing Topic

From the Topic name menu (1), select Edit Topic (2).

edit a topic


Step Three: Set Topic Properties

1. Enter the Topic Title, using the same name as the grade item and rubric.

2. If you haven't created a forum for this topic, select Change Forum to assign the topic to

  • an existing forum, or
  • create a new forum with the same title.

enter topic title and select forum di assign topic to forum

Link to a grade item

3. Grade Out Of: to assign points or link to a grade item.

Select In Grade Book (2) to open more options.

  • Edit or Link to Existing: to create a new item or link to an existing one.
  • Not in Grade Book: to not include the scores in gradebook..
  • Reset to Upgraded: reset and remove the Grade Out Of field.

click on grade out of

4. Description: where you add additional information or instructions for the students.


Step Four: Set Availability Dates & Conditions

1. Click on the Availability Dates & Conditions to open the dropdown settings.

availability dates conditions tile

Adding a Start Date and End Date will determine when the topic is available to students.

  • Start date (2) is when students will see the discussion topic, and
  • End date (3) is when it will become hidden from them.

You can always go back and change them later.

release conditions start and end dates

Release Conditions and Restrictions (set in Delivery Space)

4. Set release conditions students cannot access or view the topic until the release conditions are met.
Refer to Using Release Conditions for more information.

5. Set Group and Section Restrictions allow a topic to be available to only a select group of students or course and unit sections.

release condition group restrictions


Step Five: Set Post & Completion

1. Click on Post & Completion to open the dropdown settings. 

post completion tile

Participant options (2)

  • Default participation.
  • Allow learners to hide their names from other learners: allow students to hide their names and post anonymously on the topic.
    • Anonymous messages are displayed with the message author 'Anonymous' in the Message List.
  • Learners must start a thread before they can view or reply to other threads: require each student to start a new thread before viewing or replying to other threads on that topic.

Moderation (3)

  • Posts must be approved before they display in the topic: moderate messages or posts created within this topic are to be approved before they are published to other students.

participant options


Step Six: Set Evaluation & Feedback

Add a rubric

To assist in the evaluation, marking, and providing feedback for student submissions, you can use a Rubric or enable other evaluation settings.

1. Click on Evaluation & Feedback to open the dropdown settings. 

evalution feedback tile

2. You can also add a marking rubric to assess and provide feedback on the discussion topic.
Refer to this guide: Linking a Rubric to an Assessment Dropbox Folder

attach rubric 

Optional Evaluation

Allow evaluation of individual posts: manually assign marks to each discussion post and reply.

  • Calculation Method: click on the dropdown to select a relevant method.
  • Include unassessed messages in the calculated score as zero: 
    • automatically assign all not yet evaluated student posts as zero.

Important - Only use this option if you are not marking using a rubric and the students are required to post multiple discussion threads within that topic.

optional calculation method 

Allow learners to rate posts: allow students to rate their peer posts in the unit. Option includes:

  • Five-Star Rating.
  • Up Vote/Down Vote Rating.
  • Up Vote Only Rating.

 learner rate posts

Once complete, select Save and Close.

di save close button

To learn how to grade the discussion topic, see Assessing and Grading Discussions.  


Subscribing to a discussion

Subscribe to your discussion list to get notified every time students respond to selected discussion topics and/or threads.

There are three options:

  • Subscribe to a Discussion Forum: receive a notification on all topics or thread activities within that discussion forum.
  • Subscribe to an individual Discussion Topic: receive a notification on that topic activities.
  • Subscribe to an individual Topic Thread: receive a notification when students reply that thread.


3. In the Customize Notifications pop-up window, select your Notification Method.

  • Show notifications in navigation area only - display the notification through the chat icon on top right chat icon
  • Send me an instant notification (selected by default) - send you an instant email and notification whenever there is a new update.
  • Include in my summary of activity - include in your Summary of Activity email, which can be sent daily or weekly.

For more details on how to set up or check if you can receive instant notifications/email, refer to Setting Up Instant Notifications.

notification option

4. Once done, select Subscribe.

subscribe button


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