Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Technology > Desire2Learn > Tools > Discussions > Creating Discussions

Creating Discussions in D2L

D2L uses specific terms to refer to different parts of the Discussions area, including the following:

  • Forums are used to house discussion topics that are similar. For example, there might be several discussions in the first week of the course, so create a forum titled "Week One Discussions" for them.
  • Topics are where the discussion actually takes place. This is where students can post threads in response to a discussion prompt. 
  • Threads are the initial comments added to a discussion topic. 
  • Replies are responses posted to a specific discussion thread.

Setting up a discussion is a two-step process: first create a forum that can hold one or more discussion topics, then create discussion topics within that forum. 

Create a Discussion Forum

  1. Select Discussions in the course navigation bar.
  2. Select the New button.
  3. Select New Forum from the dropdown menu.
  4. Enter a title [A] (required).
  5. Enter a description [B] (optional).
  6. Select the Save and Close [C] button.
    Enter Forum Properties

Create a Discussion Topic

  1. Select the New button.
  2. Select New Topic from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select a forum from the Forums dropdown menu (or select the New Forum to create a new forum.)
  4. Choose a Topic Type [A]:
    • Open topic: everyone can access the topic and it's contents.
    • Group or section topic: everyone can access the topic, but students only see threads from their group or section (course must have groups set up before setting up group- or section-based topics).
  5. Enter a title [B] (required).
  6. Enter a description [C] (optional).
    Enter Topic Properties
  7. Select options [A] for the topic (optional):
    • Allow anonymous posts: Select this option to allow students to anonymously post to this topic (not recommended).
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the topic: Select this option to approve posts before students are able to view them (or to have a TA review and approve them.)
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads: Select this option to force students to post to the topic before they can read and reply to other students’ posts (recommended).
  8. Select option for Rate Posts [B] (optional; default No Ratings)
  9. Select the Save and Close [C] button. 
    Select Topic Options


Add restrictions to a discussion by making it available during specific dates or restricting it to groups of students. View the Setting Dates for Discussions guide for more information.

Post the first thread to a discussion topic and require students to begin adding threads and replies to it. View the Participating in Discussions guide for more information.