WebCampus provides an integrated system for hosting online class discussions. Instructors can create a discussion assignment for grading purposes (integrated with the Gradebook), or create an ungraded forum for open discussion such as for topical and current events. Students can also start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. This page provides information and tutorials on Discussion Basics, Discussion Options, and Additional Discussion Settings.
For ideas on effective teaching with Discussions see:
- There are a number of options available. Allowing threaded replies will make it possible for students to respond to other students’ posts, as opposed to only being able to respond to your initial discussion prompt. The users must post before seeing replies setting requires that students think and post their own answers to your prompt before being able to see their classmates’ posts. This ensures that students are not borrowing from their classmates’ posts before coming up with their own answers. You can choose to enable a podcast feed for the discussion, and then determine if you’d like to include student replies in podcast feed.
- You can choose to make this a graded discussion. This will make this discussion visible in your gradebook, as well as the calendar, and assignments and discussion index pages. If you’d like to make this discussion ungraded, which might be helpful for a class Q&A or off-topic forum, leave this box unchecked.
- You can also allow students to like discussion responses of their classmates. If you select this option, two additional options will appear. You can allow only graders to like—this might be helpful for teachers or TAs to indicate correct or helpful student responses, so all students can see. You can also sort discussions by likes—this might be helpful if you are asking students to vote on the best answer.
- Another available setting is to designate this as a Group Discussion. This would be helpful in creating smaller group discussions, as opposed to having all students in the class in one large discussion. If you choose this option, you can name the group, decide if you will allow students to self-sign-up for groups, and either randomly assign students to groups or manually determine group membership.
Additional discussion settings
On the discussions index page, there are a few more options and settings available to you. By clicking on the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the page will bring up the Edit Discussion Settings menu. Note that you can also choose these settings by clicking on Settings on the course menu, scrolling to the bottom of the page, and clicking on “more options.” On the Edit Discussion Settings menu, you have the following options.
- When you scroll through a discussion, each posting that you pass will automatically be marked as read. Here you can adjust the setting to only be marked as read when you do so manually, to help you keep track of which posts you still need to review.
- Under student settings, you can allow students to create discussion topics of their own; this may be helpful in allowing students to post their own questions to the discussion board. In order to avoid confusion, you may choose instead to set up a student question forum, to which students can create threads of their own, instead of entire discussions.
- You can also allow students to edit and delete their own posts. This will allow students to change their discussion responses once they have posted them. Keep in mind that if you have marked the setting to require students to post their own response before viewing their classmates’ posts, allowing students to edit or delete their posts and start over again will give them the opportunity to post an initial response, view their classmates’ responses, then change their own responses based on what they have read from their classmates.
- Finally, you can allow students to attach a file to their discussion postings. This might be helpful for students posting files for peer review workshops or presentations.