Conducting discussions

Discussions are pretty straightforward. You and your students leave posts—both comments and replies—and can even attach files to them.

  • You and your students can comment, reply to comments, and reply to other replies.
  • Anyone who starts a discussion can delete it. Users can also delete their own comments and replies.
  • Course instructors and the registrar can delete any discussion, comment, or reply.
  • The blue circle indicates an unread comment. A gray circle indicates a read comment. Click the circle to toggle it to the other status.
  • Use the filter to sort the discussion by Oldest/Newest, Unread posts, those with Recent activity, or those with the most activity (a comment with a lot of replies, for example).

Here are some of the other options and situations you may run into with a discussion...

Reported comments

Students can report other students' inappropriate comments, replies, and even entire discussions. Here's how that works:

  1. The student clicks the Report link under the comment, reply, or discussion topic. After giving a reason for why they feel the item should be removed, they submit it.
  2. You receive an email with the report linking you to the item. You can also look at the main Discussions list to see if there are any unresolved reports.
  3. After going to the discussion and locating the item, click the report indicator. You'll see who reported the item and their reason for doing so.
  4. Review the item, and either delete it or mark it OK.

Grading comments and replies

Graded discussions give you the option of grading individual comments and replies from students. These comment grades can then be used as a grading requirement for the whole discussion.

  1. First, make sure you've entered something in the Grade Comments and/or Grade Replies settings. If you don't enter anything in these settings, you can't grade comments or replies!
  2. If you're using rubrics, you can also assign a rubric to graded discussion comments.
  3. Find the comment or reply you wish to grade. Click Enter grade.
  4. Enter the grade (or use the rubric) and Save. If you need to change it, just click the grade to edit it.
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  • 0
    David Stauffer

    Is there any way of measuring student participation in discussions?  Even a simple option like pulling a report of all a students comments within a course, or across all courses.  Some of our profs added an 'online participation' component to their classes, but to gauge how much students engaged, they basically have to go through each discussion and manually measure a student's participation.

    Any ideas?

  • 0
    Brendan O'Donnell


    Have you checked out the Performance Dashboard in the course's reporting tab? It measures student participation in discussions—perhaps not exactly the way you mention here, but it definitely comes close.

  • 0
    David Stauffer

    That will definitely help.  I went to the dashboard, but didn't look at the report on a specific student.  Thanks Brendan!

  • 1
    Ginger Howell

    I notice that Populi has incorporated some aspects that are traditionally connected to social media sites. For example, you can “like” or heart someone’s post. Is there a way to tag a student in a discussion post, such as (@Howell, Ginger)? Our instructors want to make sure that their reply gets seen by certain students.  

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