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How do I create a group discussion in Brightspace?

This guide will go over how to:

  • Create a group
  • Create a discussion forum
  • Create a discussion topic
  • Add discussion to content module

Create Groups

  1. From the course navigation bar, click Course Tools and select Groups from the drop-down.
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  2. Click New Category. This category will house the individual groups.
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  3. Enter a name for the group category (i.e. Project 1 Groups). Multiple group categories can be created in a Brightspace course.
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  4. Click the Enrollment Type drop-down and select the desired enrollment type.
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    • If you would like to manually assign students to groups, choose # of Groups – No Auto Enrollments.
    • If you would like Brightspace to automatically assign students to the groups, we recommend choosing either the Groups of # or # of Groups.
  5. Enter the desired number of groups or users. This option will depend on your previous selection.  If you chose the Single user, member-specific groups enrollment type, you will not see this option.
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  6. If you previously chose either the Groups of # or # of Groups option, we highly recommend checking the Auto-Enroll new users option under Advanced Properties. With this option checked, anyone who adds your course after these groups are created will be automatically distributed into a group without any work on your part.
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  7. Click Save when finished.
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  8. If you previously chose the # of Groups – No Auto Enrollments option, click the drop-down to the right of the category you just created and select Enroll Users from the drop-down. From here, you can assign students to particular groups.
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Create A Discussion Forum

Discussions in Brightspace consist of forums, topics, threads, and replies.  A forum can be thought of as a way to organize discussion topics.  A topic is where the discussion prompt will reside and where the conversation will take place through threads and replies.  A thread is created when an Instructor, TA, or student responds to the original discussion.  Instructors, TAs, and students can also reply to the threads of others.

An example of this structure might look like a Week 1 forum containing three discussion topics for the week.  Within a discussion topic, students would create threads to respond to the initial prompt and would create replies to respond to the threads of their peers.

  1. From the course navigation bar, click Course Tools and select Discussions from the drop-down.
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  2. Click New and select New Forum from the drop-down.
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  3. Enter a Title for the forum and, optionally, a Description.
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  4. Scroll down and review the forum Options. Options set at the forum-level will apply to topics within the forum.  Similar options will be available at the topic-level when creating individual topics.
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  5. Click the Restrictions tab to review the availability of the forum. Similar options will be available at the topic-level when creating individual topics.  When finished, click Save and Close.
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Create A Discussion Topic

  1. Navigate to Discussions.  Click New and select New Topic from the drop-down.
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  2. Select the forum that will house the topic you are creating or click [New Forum] to create a new forum for the topic. Then, select Group or section topic for the Topic Type. 
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  3. Click the drop-down to select the appropriate group category.
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  4. Enter a Title and, optionally, a Description. Most often, the description box for a topic is used to indicate to students what criteria should be included in their responses to the prompt and/or the question prompt itself.
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  5. Select your preferred options from the Options.
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  6. Click the Restrictions tab to review the availability of the discussion topic.
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  7. If students will receive a grade for this discussion, click the Assessment tab. Click [New Grade Item] to create the column in the gradebook where scores for this discussion will appear.  If a grade item already exists, click the Choose a grade item drop-down and select the corresponding grade item.
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  8. Name the grade item how you would like this discussion to appear in the gradebook to students. Optionally, enter a short name, which is how the discussion will appear to you in the gradebook.  If you are using gradebook categories to organize your gradebook, select the appropriate category from the drop-down.
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  9. In the Maximum Points field, enter the number of points this discussion will be worth. Review the remaining options and then click Save.

    PLEASE NOTE:  The availability dates on the New Grade Item window control the visibility of the grade column to students.  They are not related to the availability dates of the discussion topic.
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  10. Enter the number of points the discussion will be worth in the Score Out Of. Add a Rubric if desired.
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  11. When you are finished, click Save and Close.
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  12. The topic will display within the designated forum in the discussion list.
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Add The Discussion To A Content Module

The Discussions area under Course Tools lists all of the discussions in the course.  You can insert them into any Content module to list them with related content.

  1. From the course navigation bar, click Content and navigate to the module location where the discussion should reside.

  2. Click Existing Activities and select Discussions from the drop-down.
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  3. Locate and click the discussion forum in which the topic resides.
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  4. Click the name of the discussion topic you would like to insert.
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 Last Updated: 5/5/2022