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Graded discussions

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.

Creating a graded discussion

This lets you create a graded discussion that is attached to the course. If need be, you can later connect it to a lesson.

  1. Go to the course Assignments view.
  2. Click Add an assignment.
  3. Enter the assignment details.
  4. When you get to the Type field, choose Discussion.
  5. 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.
  6. When you're done, click Save.

Discussion page

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.

Settings

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

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.

    1. Click Add requirements in the assignment info panel in the right column of the discussion page.
    2. 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
  1. Check to make a requirement Extra credit or to enable partial credit for it.
  2. Click to remove a requirement.
  3. Click Save when you're finished.

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).
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22 Comments

  • 0
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    Christopher Engelsma

    What is the difference between a comment and a reply?

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    Brendan O'Donnell

    I would hazard that a comment, presumably, introduces a new thought or tangent to the discussion; a reply interacts with a comment. Functionality-wise, comments and replies can be used as separate grading requirements; also, replies are nested under the comments with which they're interacting. Is that helpful?

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    Sam Dean

    Does the "Get Email Updates" send an email to the instructor or to all on the discussion?

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    Nichole Moore

    Would love to see this info on graded discussions become one of your faculty videos.  It's always helpful to link that to faculty.  Thanks!

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    Christopher Engelsma

    What happens if auto grade is not activated, and you assign a grade to each discussion post.  Does that grade then NOT show in the gradebook? 

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    Patricia King

    on Populi  my grade adding up right will you please, go and check it for me.

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    Mrs. Pierce

    Our students often upload their discussion using the assignment tab rather than going to the discussion board because there is a place to do so. Perhaps when a discussion type is selected, the option to upload a file could be removed.

     

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    Michelle R. Broussard

    We have an instructor who requires 1 comment (original post) and 2 reply posts. If all three posts are met, the student earns full credit. If students only complete part of the assignment (say they make 2 replies but never posted an original comment), they are not supposed to get any credit for the assignment. He is attempting the auto grading feature, but from the above, I don't see anyway to accommodate this parameter. Is checking the "partial credit" box going to be of any help?

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    Brad Cowie

    Is there any way to set up the following type of scenario

    • 70% of the grade applies to meeting the requirements for the number of posts (auto-graded).
    • 30% of the grade applies to **my **evaluation (not peer evaluation) of posts - a grade that I can enter.

    There doesn't appear to be this option.

     

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    Brendan O'Donnell

    Brad, not exactly, but I think we can get pretty close to what you're talking about doing. Check out this image for reference.

    1. I created a graded discussion worth 50 points.
    2. I set Grade Comments to yes, with each comment graded on a 10-point scale.
    3. For requirements, I assigned 35 points to the students' posting the minimum number of posts (5 in this case).
    4. I also assigned 15 points for the average comment grade being at least 7 points (out of the 10 points I specified in the Grade Comments setting). 
    5. Of course, you have partial credit options with both of these requirements...

    So, that's one scenario... you kinda have to sort out the 70-30 split on your own, but it does appear to be doable.

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    Michelle R. Broussard

    One instructor desires and "all or nothing" grade, and I haven't been able to give him what he wants. For example, discussion is worth 10 points. They either supply one comment and two replies, or they get zero. All I have been able to do is make one comment worth 5 points, and 2 replies worth 5 points, with no partial credit for either. But what happens is if they do one comment and no replies, they get 5 points instead of 0, How can you make the system know, when there are two components (comments & replies) that all components must be filled to get any points? 

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    Brad Cowie

    I have a graded discussion that has Auto-Grade set to Feb 9 (after discussion closes). I also have Grade Comments and Grade Replies activated. If I grade individual comments/replies while the discussion is open, do the students see those grades? Nothing is showing up in the Gradebook, so I know it's not posting a running assignment grade; but what about the individual comments and replies in the discussion page itself? Do the student see my grading of their individual comments in the discussion, or is that all hidden until the Auto Grade tallies it all up?  [BTW: That's what I want - the running tally hidden]

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    Brendan O'Donnell

    @Brad: The student will be able to see individual grades on comments and replies, but he will not see any sort of "running" overall assignment grade. 

    @Michelle: There is no all-or-nothing option at this time. You should consider graded discussion requirements as something like questions on a test—the student's performance on individual questions adds up to a total test score.

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    Ann Rill

    I would like to reiterate Wendy's comment.  Because graded discussions show up on the assignment page, students often click on the assignment rather than go to the actual discussion post.  The same happens when graded discussions are linked to lessons.  When they do this, they are directed to the grade/feedback page for the assignment.  Students who post their discussion questions here are obviously not participating in the actual discussion, and their work is not graded.  Also, unless the instructor goes searching for it, he doesn't see the student's comments.

    We have given our students instructions, but inevitably, some still end up in the wrong place.  Could there possibly be a pop-up box that appears giving them a choice to go to the actual discussion or to the feedback page - at the very least a warning that the page they are heading to is not the actual discussion board?

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    Brad Cowie

    Is there any auto grading criteria that counts total number of posts without distinguishing comments from replies? If not, could that be added?  I don't want to assign a different grade to comments vs replies ... I just want to count posts of either kind without distinction. I don't see that option in any of the "all posts" criteria. 

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    Lucas Bostdorff

    Is there any way to make separate due dates for the initial comment and the replies on a single discussion post? For instance can we make a comment due on Monday and then the replies due by the following Wednesday? 

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    Michelle R. Broussard

    In response to Lucas' request, we too have an instructor that wants the initial comment to be due on a certain day (to give other students a chance to read and select it for a reply post) and a later due date for the replies.

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    Michelle R. Broussard

    @ Brad - they seem to have implemented your request. Rather than selecting comments or replies, there is an option to select a # of posts.

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    Lisa Walsh

    Is there a way to get ALL discussions emailed without having to enter each week and tick it? I am a grader for discussions only, for over 50 courses. Doing this each and every week is a little tedious. Am I missing how to set email alerts for discussions for an entire course? 

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    Jonathon Beeke

    Are the grades in the discussions not linked directly to the grades in the gradebook? In other words, if you change a grade in the discussions, what happens to the grade in the gradebook?

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    Brendan O'Donnell

    @Jonathon, Not really. The grading interface for discussions basically gives you the information you need to grade the student—but still requires you actively come up with a grade yourself. Auto Grade has Populi calculate a grade at the date/time you enter, but it doesn't dynamically calculate the grade before/after that moment.

  • 0
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    Ann Beck
    1. Are students able to see the grading requirements set for the Auto Grade?  What about the stats?
    2. Is the requirement set for the Total Word Count accumulative or for each individual post/comment/reply?
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