Discussions tool in Brightspace

Brigthspace offers the possibility to create an interactive space where students and lecturers can exchange ideas, questions, and discuss any topic. This is the Discussions tool.

This article elaborates on the following topics:

About the Discussions tool

The Discussions tool enables lecturers to create fora and to add discussion topics to them. Here, students are able to create discussion themes, comment, share documents. This tool serves multiple purposes:

  • Allows students to collaborate by sharing documents
  • It offers a low-key way of interaction and discussion between students
  • Users can give feedback to each other and/or on shared documents

The structure within the Discussions tool is as follows: A forum is equivalent to a folder that contains a collection of one or more discussion topics. Each discussion topic can contain several threads to continue the conversation within that topic. Here is an example: 

  • Forum A
    • Topic A.1
      • Thread A.1.1
      • Thread A.1.2
      • Thread A.1.3
    • Topic A.2
  • Forum B
  • Forum C

Students can only publish posts or comments within an already existing Topic. Therefore, please make sure to have created Topics within a Forum before asking your students to work together in the Discussion tool.

How to open the Discussions tool

From your course page, follow the next steps to find and open the Discussions tool:

  1. Navigate to Communication in the navigation bar
  2. Click on Discussions. This will take you to the Discussions homepage
Communication - Discussion

This will take you on the homepage of the Discussions in your course.

In the Discussions homepage window, there are several tabs and settings options available:

1. Discussions List

The tab Discussions List is the landing site on the Discussion tool homepage. Here you can see the overview of all the forums with their topics created. Once on this page, you can click on the already created forum names to access them. Learn more about this on How to create a Discussion Forum.

2. Subscriptions

Under the Subscriptions tab, you can adjust the notification preferences of discussions. Furthermore, you can change the email address to which you would like to send an activity summary of this tool.

3. Groups and Section Restrictions

If you are making use of groups created in Brightspace, the options available in the tab Groups and Section Restrictions allow you to see the overview of forums and topics and the groups they are assigned to. Besides this informative purpose, you can also modify or add new restrictions setting from this tab.

4. Statistics

Under the Statistics tab, you can generate statistics about the discussion fora and their users, which makes it easy for you as a lecturer to check whether students actively participate in discussions or not.

The Statistics tab allows you to export discussion data into an Excel file, to gain a detailed overview of your statistics.

5. Settings

If you want to manage settings of the different fora you have created, click on Settings.

discussion homepage tabs

Now you know the basics of the Discussions tool in Brightspace!