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Discussions let students communicate asynchronously with each other and teaching staff on a particular topic.


It's not currently possible to subscribe for notifications of when posts are made. However, this feature will be available in the future (expected some time later in 2024). For now we recommend using a Padlet board for discussions you need to subscribe to.

Create a discussion

  1. In the Course Content area, hover where the discussion should appear. Click the plus icon then Create. Click the plus icon then Create.
  2. Under Participation and Engagement, select Discussion.
  3. Click the default "New Discussion" title and name the discussion.
  4. Add instructions and/or a first post using the text editor. Decorative
  5. Click the cog icon to open Settings (eg. allow anonymous posts)
  6. Click Save.

Watch a demonstration of creating a Discussion:

Setting up discussions in Ultra [YouTube]

Access a discussion

Users can access discussions in two locations:

  • In the Course Content area where it was created. For example in a weekly materials section.
    Course content area: Week 2 section containing lecture and Discussion
  • In the dedicated Discussions area reached from the top navigation bar. You can also create a discussion here.

Delete a discussion

  1. Click the three dots to the right of the discussion name.
  2. Select Delete.
  3. When prompted, press Delete again.
  4. Go to the Discussions area and check that the discussion does not appear here too. If it does, repeat this process.

Using discussions anonymously

Set up:

  1. Open a Discussion and click the settings icon towards the top right of the screen
  2. Tick Allow anonymous responses...
  3. Click Save.


Posting anonymously: Posts will not automatically be anonymous, but users will have the option to make their post anonymous before they post it.

  1. Type out your response
  2. Tick the post anonymously box below the text pane
  3. Click Respond


You can also use Padlet for anonymous discussions.

Using discussions to support teaching

Discussions can be set up in various ways to support different teaching and learning activities.

Assign to groups

You can split a discussion for different groups of students. For example, to:

  • make a discussion easier to manage for large student cohorts.
  • provide a discussion space for each seminar group.
  • support project or collaborative work.

Discussion item assigned to groups with group icon and '3 groups' shown under title

To assign a discussion to groups:

  1. Create and set up the discussion (only one is needed for all groups).
  2. Click the Discussion Settings cog icon.
  3. Under Additional tools, click Group discussion/Assign to groups.
  4. Assign students by setting up new groups (see our Groups guide for details) or reusing existing groups.
  5. Click Save.

To view each group's discussion:

  1. Open the discussion.
  2. Select the group name from the drop-down menu below the instructions. An open discussion with menu showing three group names appearing below the instructions.

You can also limit discussion visibility using Release Conditions. However, this method requires a separate discussion for each group, so it needs more care to set up and manage. See our Release conditions guide for details.

Post first

You can require students to post a reply before they can see other students' posts. For example, students could:

  • summarise a topic/key points from a reading before they see other students' ideas.
  • create multiple choice questions for other students to test their understanding.
  • create their own discussion question before responding to other questions.


To set up post first:

  1. Open the discussion and click the Discussion Settings cog icon.
  2. Tick the Post first option.
  3. Click Save.

Mark discussion

You can also grade discussions. This could be useful to:

  • use performance/completion as a release condition for other materials
  • use a discussion as a summative assessment
  • show students you've reviewed their formative response
  • use a marking rubric to grade and give feedback


To mark a discussion:

  1. Open the discussion and click the Discussion Settings cog icon.
  2. Click Mark discussion.
  3. In the Marking and Participation section, set the due date and how the discussion is marked.
    Settings to adjust due date, mark category, mark using points/percent, maximum points
  4. If desired, Add marking rubric. You can create a rubric here or reuse a rubric already in your site.
  5. Click Save.