If you want to create a discussion area for students in your course, you will need to create forums and topics in the Discussions tool. Forums organize topics into categories. You can create as many forums and topics as you like in your course. 


Instructors must create a forum first, then a topic. Topics are where students actually post threads. Students cannot post to a forum.


To create a forum,

  1. In Discussions, click Discussions List.
  2. Click New and select New Forum.
  3. Enter a title for the forum.
  4. Enter a description for the forum.
  5. In the Options section, select any of the following:
    1. Allow anonymous posts- this allows students to post anonymously to the topic
    2. A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum – This can be useful for instructors who want to approve a topic for consideration before allowing students to start discussing it
    3. Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic– This forces students to pose their own commentary and ideas before reading others’
    4. Display forum descriptions in topics– This can be useful and a timesaver if the forum and topic description are the same
  6. In the Availability section, select Visibility options for the forum.
    1. You can make forums always visible, hide them, or make them visibile for a specific date range.
    2. Visibility options will cascade down to the topics. If you just want to hide a topic,  you can just hide the topic and leave the forum visible.
    3. For more restrictions, you will need to visit the Restrictions tab.
  7. Select Locking Options for the forum.
    1. You can unlock or lock forums, or unlock forums for a specific date range.
    2. Locking options will cascade down to the topics.
    3. Students cannot post to topics in locked forums!
  8. Click Save and Close, Save and Add Topic, or Save.
    1. Save and Close: saves forum and returns to Discussions list page.
    2. Save and Add Topic: saves forum and takes you directly to create a new topic.
    3. Save: saves the forum but stays on the page


To create a topic,

  1. In Discussions, click Discussions List.
  2. Click New and select New Topic.
  3. Select or create the forum you want to put the topic in.
  4. Select the Topic Type: Open, or Group or section topic. (IMPORTANT: You can't edit the Topic Type once you save the topic!)
  5. Enter your topic's details.
  6. In the Options section, select any of the following:
    1. Allow anonymous posts- this allows students to post anonymously to the topic
    2. A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum – This can be useful for instructors who want to approve a topic for consideration before allowing students to start discussing it
    3. Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic– This forces students to pose their own commentary and ideas before reading others
    4. Rate Posts- you can allow students to rate posts in the discussion
  7. In the Availability section, select Visibility options for the topic
    1. You can make topics always visible, hide them, or make them visible for only a specific date range.
    2. For more restrictions, visit the Restrictions tab.
  8. Select Locking Options for the topic.
    1. You can unlock or lock topics, or unlock topics for a specific date range.
    2. Students can't post to locked topics!
  9. Click Save and Close, Save and New, or Save.
    1. Save and Close: saves the topic and returns you to Discussions.
    2. Save and New: saves the topic and lets you create another topic.
    3. Save: saves the topic but stays on the page


  • If you want to add release conditions to a topic, you must click on Restrictions tab and modify the settings there.
  • If you want to add assessment to the topic, you must click on Assessment tab and modify settings there.
  • If you want to add objectives to the topic, you must click on Objectives tab and modify settings there.