Managing grading requirements and settings for your graded discussion

When you first create a graded discussion:

  • It isn't published; it's in Draft mode.
  • It doesn't have a topic.
  • It doesn't have any grading requirements.

In this article, you'll learn how to use the settings and grading requirements in your graded discussion.

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). 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.

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!


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 can only be viewed by you and your students.
    • 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. If rubrics are available, choose one from the drop-down. Keep these settings in mind if you decide to require a minimum comment/reply grade in the grading requirements.
  • Auto Grade: Read more about auto-grading in this article.

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 these 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 (see above), 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 (the course faculty's) 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.
  3. Check to make a requirement Extra credit or to enable partial credit for it.
  4. Click   to remove a requirement.
  5. 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...

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