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

Creating Discussions in D2L

Setting up a discussion is a two-step process:

  1. Create a forum that can hold one or more discussion topics.
  2. Create discussion topics within that forum. 

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

  • 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 a forum titled "Week One Discussions" could contain those.
  • 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.

If a discussion topic or forum has been deleted, instructors can restore the discussion.

Note: To add a link to a Discussion Forum or Topic to a module in Content, follow the directions to Add Links to Other Parts of the Course Site.

Create a Discussion Forum

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

Create a Discussion Topic

  1. Select New.
  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 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].
  6. (Optional) Enter a description [C].
    create discussion topic
  7. (Optional) Select options [A] for the topic:
    • 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 posts (recommended).
  8. (Optional) Select an option for Rate Posts [B] to set up a rating scheme. The default is No Ratings. Other options include Five-Star Rating Scheme, Up Vote/Down Vote Rating Scheme, and Up Vote Only Rating Scheme.
  9. Select the Save and Close [C] button. 
    discussion topic settings

Restore a Discussion

  1. Navigate to the Discussions area.
  2. Select the More Actions button.
  3. Select Restore.
  4. A new tab will open with a list of deleted discussions. Next to the discussion to restore, select Restore.


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

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