The Discussions tool is an online engagement tool that enables users to share their thoughts in conversation threads. Instructors may use the Discussions tool to assign online asynchronous discussion tasks. The Discussion Forum, and Topics can be linked to Brightspace’s Gradebook for assessment.

For more on Statistics, please see Discussions - Discussion Statistics - Instructor

The NavBar ribbon with the Discussions Tool tab highlighted.
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How are Online Discussions Organized?

Like Sakai’s Forums Tool, Discussions is organized like a nesting doll. At the top level sits the Discussion Forums, then the Discussion topics. Both Forums and Discussion Topics can be restricted to specific users, dates, and be linked to conditional release criteria.

Students post to the Discussion Topic by starting or posting to Discussion Threads. Each response or reply is a Discussion Post.

Discussions List Tab

A Screenshot of the Discussions Tool homepage.
Click image to enlarge

This page opens to the Discussion List tab, in which Users can view the full list of Discussion Forums and associated topics created in the site. In the Topic Table, discussion settings, short and long descriptions can be seen, as well The following statistics: Number of conversation threads, Number of total posts. Lastly this table will also highlight the last post made to the topic.


New - Select this button to create new forums and forum topics

More Actions - Choose from a list of actions, including, Copy, Reorder, Delete, Restore.

Filter by: Unread or Unapproved - Options to alter the view of the Discussion tool view to show only the unread or unapproved posts made by users.

Collapse All Forums - By default all the forums are expanded revealing all the associated topics. Select this option to view the list of forums only.

Subscriptions Tab


Use this tab to edit discussion notification frequency. By default, instructors are notified for all changes, (new posts, and replies) in a discussion topic. Use this tab to alter your notification preferences.

For more information, please see Discussions - Subscription Options - Instructor

Group and Section Restrictions Tab

Use this tab to edit multiple forums and forum topics access. Restrict access to a forum or topic using groups or sections.

  1. Click Group and Section Restrictions from the tool navigation.

  2. Select your View Options.

  3. In the Edit Restrictions area, select the Restricted check box for any forum or topic you want to restrict, then select the check box for any group or section you want to have access to the forum or topic. To open a forum or topic to everyone, clear the Restricted check box.

Statistics Tab

On the Statistics tab review user activity in this tool. Switch between the Users and Forum and Topic Tabs to view a high-level view of activity in the course offering site.

Please contact CPI at edtech@brocku.ca with any questions or comments about the contents of this site.