Discussions: Introduction

The Discussions tool in Brightspace provides students with a space to communicate with one another by posting, reading, and replying to messages. Instructors can create discussion forums to allow students to:

  • Ask questions about the course, assessments etc.
  • Comment and share reflections on course material
  • Collaborate in groups (e.g., on a group project)
  • Discuss answers to an assignment
  • Share files with the whole class or group (e.g., PPT presentations or articles)

Discussions in Brightspace can be open to the entire class or restricted to smaller groups. Group discussions can be set up in two ways: each group can discuss the same topic in a private setting, or different topics can be assigned to different groups. Also, when teaching a course with combined course sections, section-specific discussions can be created. Instructors can also create discussions where students can post anonymously.

NOTE: Students are not able to create discussion forums or topics. Instructors need to structure the discussion area for students.

Benefits of Using Discussions

There are many benefits of incorporating discussions into a course. Discussions can:

  • promote communication and collaboration among students,
  • provide a platform where students can learn from each other and co-create knowledge,
  • give each student an equal opportunity to share their ideas,
  • provide a comfortable place to share ideas to shy or introverted students, who may be reluctant to speak in a classroom,
  • allow students to practice writing skills (although they should not be treated as writing assignments but dialogues).

Video Overview

The following short video introduces the basic how-tos of the Discussion Tool.

You may also wish to download a copy of the Discussions Guide for Instructors (PDF) to your device.