Discussion Forums

What is it?

The Discussions tool is a learner engagement space (or communication and collaboration space) where you and your students can read and reply to messages on different topics, share thoughts about unit materials, ask questions and share files.

Before you create a discussion topic, you must create at least one forum. You can use forums to organize your discussion topics in categories. Discussion topics do not stand alone, but are categorized into Forums. A Forum can contain any number of discussion topics. For example: in a unit with three assessments, an Assessment Forum could contain 3 discussion topics, one per assessment.

Useful Resources

Who in Learning Innovations can help me with this?

Cloud Discussions Student Etiquette Statement

The General Discussion forum (top most forum) contains the following etiquette statement with relevant links that all students must adhere to:

‘All students and staff have the right to work and study in an environment that is supportive, inclusive, fair and safe including face-to-face and cloud learning environments. Please refer to the online etiquette guidelines on Communicating Online. Know your Student Rights and Responsibilities including University policies on Information and Communications Technology Use and Conditions of Information Technology use.’

Adjusting the Discussions view

Staff have the option of using either the reading view or the grid view. The default is set to grid view, however this can be changed from the ‘settings’ area when you are on the discussions page.

Click on the settings button, when you are on the discussions

  • Grid view:
    • Selecting this option will display the discussion posts in the traditional Grid View, with post subjects displaying in a grid.
  • Reading view:
    • Selecting this option will display the discussion posts in Reading View, where the entire text of a post displays for all posts. With the 10.6 CloudDeakin upgrade, as you scroll through the discussion messages, a light blue colored line next to each message will disappear (in 5 seconds or so), indicating that the user has either read or viewed the discussion post. The discussion tool can now be accessed from the navigation menu item “Discussions”.

Structure of Discussion Forums

Below are some examples of how discussion forums can be set up, depending on the nature and size of the unit:


The standard discussions forum template is applied to all units for the trimester. The ‘General Unit Discussions Forum’ on the top with the etiquette statement, followed but an ‘Assessment Discussion Forum’ and a ‘Peer Learning, Networking and Community Forum’. The last forum is automatically hidden for students but essentially can be visible for students to discuss and learn from one another. This forum is not necessarily manned by staff.

Tips and hints using discussion tool

  • You and your students can choose to subscribe to a discussion forum to receive updates via email. From the dropdown box click on Add Topic then click Subscribe.
  • Choose whether you want an instant notification or to include in your summary of activity. Please note: If you haven’t already setup your notification settings you can also do this from this dialogue
  • You can automatically create restricted topics for groups from the “Group Restrictions tab” at the top of the discussion tool. Select the group and forum and then select the link “Automatically create restricted topics”.
  • The “Statistics tab” at the top of the discussion tool window provides statistics on usage per user and per topic/forum.
  • To copy, reorder or delete a topic or forum, make sure you are on the “Discussions List tab”, select the button “more actions”.
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