Your course can have multiple forums and topics, but you must create a forum before you can create a topic since all topics belong to forums. This article describes how to create a new Discussion Topic.


  1. First, tap the Discussions tab in the top navbar.
  2. Next, tap the New button drop-down and then select New Topic.
    The discussions page is shown with the Discussions list tap selected. An arrow points from the New drop-down button the the New Topic option.
  3. At this point the New Topic page will be displayed and the Properties tab will be selected by default. 
    1. Choose the forum to associate this topic to using the Forum drop-down field.
      Note: If you have not done so already, refer to Create a Discussion Forum.
    2. If you are using Sections you will choose a Topic Type to determine who will be able to access the topic.
      Note: This step is optional.
      • Open topic, everyone can access this topic and its contents.
      • Group or section topic, everyone can access this topic but students only see threads from their own group or section.
    3. Now, insert a topic name using the Title field.
    4. Next, use the Description area type your discussion prompt and instructions you want your students to complete for their discussion post.
    5. Then choose any Options you want to set for your discussion topic.
    6. Next, if desired use the Rate Posts drop-down to select an applicable topic rating type.
      The New Topic page is shown with all fields mentioned above.
  4. To continue, select the Restrictions tab. 
    1. First, if applicable, place a check in the Has Start Date and/or Has End Date checkboxes and then select an applicable start and/or end date/time from the date picker in the Availability section.
      Note: This is optional, if you do not set a Start and End Date your students may complete the Discussion at any time.
    2. You can add Release Conditions that would require students to meet certain conditions before the discussion topic would be available to them. Choose to either Attach Existing or Create and Attach release conditions.
      Note: This field is optional.
    3. Additionally, use the Group and Section Restrictions section to choose to further restrict this topic to certain groups/sections. Simply check the optional checkbox and then tap Add Groups and Sections.
      Note: This field is optional.
      The Edit Topic page is shown with an arrow pointing to the Restrictions tab. All fields mentioned above are displayed.
  5. Finally, tap the Assessment tab.
    1. To add your discussion topic to your gradebook, tap the New Grade Item link (right of Grade Item field). At this point, the New Grade Item pop-up dialog box will appear. 
      1. First, type a title for the grade topic in the Name field.
      2. Next, insert a Short Name, this will shorten it in the gradebook view for students.
      3. Then choose a Category. Categories are a way to organize the grade items in your Gradebook.
        Note: You can set your categories up in your gradebook by Unit, Week, or Assignment type (Quizzes, Tests, Discussions…).
      4. The Description is optional as you should have the directions/prompt in your discussion topic already.
      5. Next, set your Maximum Points to your desired point value.
        Note: The remaining settings are optional, you can click on the question mark icon for more information if you choose to use them.
      6. Finally, tap the Save button to apply your changes. 
    2. Now, enter your Score Out of. If using a Grade Item, these should be the same.
    3. Additionally, you can create a Rubric in which you can outline the grading criteria for your students and allow you to grade the discussion with this criteria.
      1. First, tap Create Rubric in a New Widow. This will open a new tab.
        Note: You will not be able to set the criteria and point value for your rubric. Rubrics save automatically, if you look in the upper right hand corner you will see the Saved and Status. Next, to use your rubric, make sure the Status is changed to Published. If you have a rubric that you previously created, click Add Rubric and select the rubric you want to use.
      2. Next, navigate back to your discussion topic and assessment tab. 
      3. Now click on Add Rubric to select the rubric you created or one you previously created. 
      4. Then check the appropriate rubric, and then Add Selected.
    4. If you want to score individual posts, select the Allow assessment of individual posts check box, then select your calculation method to allow assessment of individual posts in the topic. When this check box is not selected, you can give a single overall score to the learner for their participation.
      • If you want to score all the posts within a topic, select the Allow assessment of individual postscheck box, and then select the Sum of post scores calculation method.
        • If you select Allow assessment of individual posts, the Include unassessed posts in the calculated topic score as zero checkbox becomes available. When you select this check box, the system automatically assigns a score of zero to individual posts that you have not yet evaluated, and the overall score for the learner is calculated from the score of all posts, including those not evaluated with a score of zero. Selecting this check box does not affect the Sum of post scores option. If you do not select the Include unassessed posts in the calculated topic score as zero check box, posts without a score are ignored and do not factor into the overall score.
  6. Finally, tap the Save and Close button to apply your changes.
    Image of the Edit Topic page with the Assessment tab selected. An arrow points to the Save and Close button at the bottom of the page.