Discussion Basics




Where can I find information on discussions on D2L?


You can use the Discussions tool to develop a community of learners in your course. Instructors and students interact with one another by posting threads and reading and replying to others.

Discussions are most often used for class discussion of course material. To get started, we recommend that you create an Introductions Topic, and create a Class Questions Topic for students to post general questions about the class.

In this tutorial, you will:

  • Create a Discussion Forum and Topic
  • View, Post and Reply to Messages
  • Assess a Topic
  • Reorder Forums and Topics
  • Delete and Restore Discussions

This article is also available in PDF Format.

This article also has a helpful tutorial video.

Discussion Settings

There are two ways to view Discussions, Reading and Grid. You can use either one, but we recommend that you use the Grid View setting.

  1. Login to D2L and click your name in the upper right of the page
  2. Click Account Settings



  1. Click the Discussions tab
  2. Select Grid View
  3. Click Save and Close
Create Forums & Topics

Forums are used as headings to organize your Discussion Topics.

Topics are the actual discussions (i.e., where users post and read messages).

NOTE: Each Topic must belong to a Forum. If you create a Forum without a Topic, it will not be visible to students.

Create a Discussion Forum
  1. Click the Communications menu and click Discussions.
  2. Click the New button at the top of the page and click New Forum.
  3. Enter a Title for the Forum, such as Chapter Discussions.
  4. [Optional] Enter a Description for the Forum.
  5. Several Options will appear under the Description box. Click the question mark next to an option for more information. If you set options at the Forum level, they will apply to all Topics in the Forum. You may find it best to apply the options at the Topic level.
  6. Click the Restrictions tab
      1. [Optional} Under the Availability section, click the box for Start Date, and then select the date that the Forum becomes visible to students.
      2. [Recommendation] Do NOT select an Availability End Date. Instead, you will use Locking options to determine when students are able to post to the Forum.
      3. Click the radio button for Unlock forum for a specific date range and then select the dates that student can add posts.
        In the example below, the Forum will always be visible to students, but they will only be able post between March 24 and March 31. After March 31, they can read the posts, but cannot add additional posts or replies.
      4. [Optional if dates are selected] Click Display in Calendar.



  1. Click Save & Add Topic to add a Topic to the Forum.
Create a Discussion Topic
  1. If you clicked Save & Add Topic, you will be on the New Topic page. If not, return to your Forum, click New at the top of the page, click New Topic, then select the Forum.
  2. Under Topic Type, select one of the following
      1. Open topic, everyone can access this topic and its contents
        With this option, the topic will be open to the entire class.
      2. Group or section topic, everyone can access this topic but students only see threads from their own group
        With this option, all students participate in the same topic, but they will only see posts from members of their group. NOTE: To use this option, you must first create Groups using the Groups tool (under the Communications menu).

Topic type


  1. Enter a Title for the Topic.
  2. Enter a Description to guide the discussion.
  3. [Optional] Select Options for your discussion, such as “Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads.”



  1. Click the Restrictions tab

[Optional} Under the Availability section, click the box for Has Start Date, and then select a date along with one of the following options:

          • Visible with Access restricted before start
          • Visible with Submission restricted before start
          • Hidden before Start

[Optional} Under the Availability section, click the box for Has End Date, and then select a date along with one of the following options:

          • Visible with Access restricted after end
          • Visible with Submission restricted after end
          • Hidden after End
  1. Click Save & Close, or Save and New to add more Topics to the Forum.
Edit a Forum or Topic
  1. On the Discussions page, click the arrow next to the item.
  2. Click Edit Forum or Edit Topic.
  3. Make your changes.
  4. Save and Close.
View Messages
  1. From the main Discussions page, click a Topic
  2. Click on one of the Threads. The original thread (message) will be displayed at the top of the page. Any replies to the thread will be listed under the original thread.
Post a New Message
  1. Click on the Topic link
  2. Click the blue Start a New Thread button at the top of the page.
  3. Enter a subject in subject box.
  4. Click into the text box to type your message.
  5. Click the blue Post
Reply to a Thread, or to a Reply
  1. To Reply to a Thread, click the blue Reply button at the top of the page.
  2. Click the text box below the subject line and enter your message.
  3. Click the blue Post
Assess a Discussion Post

If you plan to assess student participation in Discussions, you will need an Assessment attached to each Topic. Even if you do not plan to record a score in the gradebook, adding an assessment to a Topic gives you the ability to pull all posts from one student together in an easy to read format.

  1. Click the arrow next to the Title of your Topic.
  2. Click Edit Topic.
  3. On the Edit Topic page, there will be four tabs at the top. Click the Assessment



  1. [Optional] Choose the grade item from the dropdown list. If you need to create a grade item, click New Grade Item and fill in the required information to create the grade item.
  2. Enter the Score Out Of point value.
  3. Under Posts, do NOT click the box for “Allow individual scoring.” This option requires that you assess each individual post rather than the topic as a whole.
  4. Save and Close.
Assess the Topic
  1. Click the dropdown arrow next to the Topic
  2. Click Assess Topic

Access topic


3. Click the Topic Score link below the student’s name.


Topic score

  1. You will see a summary of the student’s activity at the top of the page (total number of posts and replies)
  2. Scroll through the posts on the left side
  3. In the right side, enter a score and feedback
  4. Click Publish, or Save Draft
  5. Repeat with the next student
Delete/Restore a Forum or Topic

NOTE: Deleting Forums/Topics will delete any messages posted by your students to that Forum/Topic and any associated grades. If you delete a Forum, you will also delete all Topics in the Forum.

  1. Go to Communications, click Discussions.
  2. Click the dropdown arrow next to the Forum or Topic you wish to delete.
  3. Click the Delete
  4. Click Yes in the confirmation box.
To Restore a Deleted Topic or Forum
  1. On the Discussions page, click the More Actions menu at the top of the page.
  2. Click Restore.
  3. On the Restore Forums and Topics page, click Restore.
  4. Click Yes in the confirmation box.


Additional Resources

Go to eLearning Website for detailed tutorials on many D2L topics.



Article ID: 7661
Mon 7/25/22 10:48 AM
Mon 7/25/22 10:48 AM