Graded discussions are attached to an assignment. As an assignment, they can be graded and factored into your students' final grade for your course. As a discussion, they operate much like a regular discussion, but with additional options for grading.
This lets you create a graded discussion that is attached to the course. If need be, you can later connect it to a lesson.
- Go to the course Assignments view.
- Click Add an assignment.
- Enter the assignment details.
- When you get to the Type field, choose Discussion.
- A new drop-down will appear, letting you choose either to create a New discussion or to select from any existing (non-graded) discussions.
- If you create a new discussion, the discussion will have the same name as you give the assignment.
- If you choose an existing discussion, the assignment name will change to the discussion name.
After creating the discussion assignment, you can get to it one of two ways:
- Click the assignment name, which takes you to the assignment's page. In the right column, under Info, click the link next to the Discussion field.
- Go to the Discussions view, find the discussion, and click its name.
Setting up your discussion
When you first create a discussion assignment:
- It isn't published; it's in Draft mode.
- It doesn't have a topic.
- It doesn't have any grading requirements.
Publishing a discussion
If the discussion is not published, it is a draft and students can neither view it nor comment on it. If it is published then students can make comments and view it (students can view published discussions even after comments are closed). Before publishing a discussion, make sure you've entered a topic and filled in all the settings and grading requirements you wish for this assignment. There are two ways to publish a graded discussion:
- You can edit the discussion topic (and title) right up until someone (including you) posts a comment. After editing the topic, you can either Save it or Save and publish the discussion.
- Under Settings, set Published to Yes.
You can change any of the discussion's settings by clicking the setting name, making your changes, and saving. Your selections for the following settings will affect your options for grading requirements.
- Comments Closed: If set to No, then the discussion is open to new comments and replies. If set to Yes, then the discussion is read-only.
- You can also enter a date on which the discussion will automatically close. You must enter a date if you wish to use the Auto Grade setting. This date must be after the assignment due date.
- Peer rating: If set to Yes, then students can rate other students' comments/replies with one to five stars. You can then see the average peer rating next to each item. You can use peer rating as a grading requirement (see below).
- Max Comments/Replies: Limit the number of comments/replies a student can contribute to the discussion. Keep these settings in mind if you decide to require a minimum number of comments/replies in the grading requirements.
- Grade Comments/Replies: You can enter grades next to individual student comments/replies. Enter the maximum number of points that an individual comment/reply can earn. Keep these settings in mind if you decide to require a minimum comment/reply grade in the grading requirements.
- Auto Grade: If you've entered a date in the Comments Closed setting and have entered grading requirements, you can enter a date on which Populi will automatically grade this discussion assignment. This date must fall after the assignment due date.
Grading requirements help you determine what grade to give an individual student for their performance on the discussion. If you use the Auto Grade setting, it will refer to your grading requirements when it calculates the grade.
- Click Add requirements in the assignment info panel in the right column of the discussion page.
- Next, select the requirements you wish for this discussion and enter the appropriate values. Depending on your selections in the discussion's Settings, your requirement options will vary. Here are all the options:
- Number of comments/replies/posts is at least: Students must enter a certain minimum number of comments/replies. If you select posts, then this will look at the total of comments and replies.
- Total comment/reply/words is at least: Student comments and replies (and total words) must have a certain minimum word count.
- Average comment/reply peer rating: Translates the average rating the student receives on comments/replies from other students into a score.
- For example, if you enter 5 points, and the student's average peer rating is 4, she'll get 4 out of 5 points.
- Average comment/reply peer rating is at least: Ratings the student receives on comments/replies from other students must be at least this number
- Number of replies to my comments: The student must reply to your comments at least this number of times
- Number of posts rated is at least: The student must rate at least this number of comments/replies from other students
Now that you've set up your discussion, you're ready to publish it and let your students have at it. After that, you'll review their contributions and give them grades...
Grading the discussion
The assignment detail in discussion and peer review assignments includes a few more review options:
- The Feedback view works just as it does on any other assignment.
- Review the student's contributions on the Discussion view.
- Stats tallies up the student's contributions—number of comments, peer ratings given, etc.
- When you click Enter Grades, you'll see how the student scored on each of the grading requirements you set up for the discussion (if any).