Discussions Overview

Instructors can create regular, graded, and group discussions that students can use in their Quercus courses. Instructions for students for using Discussions can be found at the link below.


Some Initial Considerations

  • Provide guidelines to students to ensure that posts and replies are balanced and useful
  • Provide students with discussion prompts that help to frame the discussion
  • Ask students to provide examples and to support their arguments citing appropriate and relevant sources
  • Set clear expectations regarding when and how much
    • students need to post (e.g., 500 words once a week by Wednesday)
    • students need to reply (if required) (e.g., 150 - 200 words to 2 fellow students once a week by Friday)
    • you as instructor will respond to Discussion Board posts (e.g., once a week on Fridays by 5:00 pm, instructor will review the Discussion board and reply to selected entries)
  • Consider integrated Discussion Board activities with other activities to support and reinforce student learning (e.g., one week discussion board post, following week complete individual assignment, then next week individual synthesis reflection).
  • Ensure students understand how their Discussion Board participation will be evaluated (e.g., students select 1 or 2 discussion posts for submission as a graded assignment) and share grading scales and rubrics with students
Interactivity Considerations Inclusivity Considerations
  • Support student-led discussions (e.g., students visit a website that they read and discuss, ask one or two students to facilitate a discussion forum for different weeks during the semester, ask students to create discussion questions and respond to other student posts)
  • Encourage students to provide peer assistance when provided with initial guidelines (e.g., to solve lab activities or problems)
  • Ask students to refer to an answer key to grade homework and to share with other students any challenges encountered
  • Students could be asked to complete a Case Study
  • Invite students to develop a research project topic and annotate resources for a final project
  • Ask students to develop a collaborative research paper or project for comment from other members of the class
  • Consult with colleagues at the Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre
  • Develop a sense of social presence online that includes the development of a community of learning
  • Foster cognitive presence - introduction of facts, concepts, theoretical knowledge  
  • Determine the features that are pertinent to the knowledge skills or abilities that are being measured (construct relevance)
  • Consult with colleagues at the UTM AccessAbility Resource Centre.


Instructions for Creating a Quercus Discussion

Below are instructions for creating a discussion:

1. Select Discussions from the Course Menu.
2. Select the + Discussion button.
Add Discussion
3. Fill out the name of the discussion in the Topic Title field and any instructions in the Rich Content Editor box.
4. Verify the other discussion Options. This is where you can make the discussion Graded, or next to Group Discussion, you can check the This is a Group Discussion box, and choose the corresponding Group Set from the dropdown menu.
5. Select the Save button to continue editing at a later time or the Save & Publish button to make the discussion visible to students.

Discussion Options  

The students will now be able to access this discussion by selecting Discussions from their course menu. Below is a video on how to add a Discussion to your Quercus course.

Add Discussion Board - Video (35 s)