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#7 Discussions, Conversations and Journals

Recorded 24/07/2020

1 Discussions

In Ultra modules, you have a specific page which contains all of the discussions you create.

There are two ways to create a discussion in your module. You can either create a discussion board directly on your course content page, or you can click on the speech bubbles in the top-right hand side of your module. This is the discussion board tab and is where you can find all of your discussion boards, regardless of where you created them.

From the course content page, hover over where you want the discussion board to be, then click on the +, and select Create from the menu. In the side window, select Discussion at the bottom of the options. 

From the discussion board tab, you can click on the + at the top right of the page.  This will give you two options: add a discussion or add a folder.  The add folder option allows you to organise discussions.

For both options, once you have created the discussion board you’ll need to title it, add content, and determine the settings.

Screenshot of a discussion board with arrows pointing to the title, description area, and settings cog wheel

You can name your discussion board by clicking on the title at the top of the screen, this will allow you to type in the desired title. In the middle of the page, you’ll see a box that will allow you to fit in any starter content.  This is the prompt for the discussion board and you can include You Tube videos, maths formulae, etc.  This can be content you want the students to read or watch then discuss. For a full discussion of the text editor, check out the Ultra 101 session Adding Content

1.2 Discussion Settings

Click on the cog wheel to open the settings for the discussion board. In here you can decided if you want the item to appear on the course content page (otherwise it will only appear in the discussions tab). You can enable Post first, this will require students to submit an initial post before they can read anything else posted in the discussion board. You can also allocate marks and due dates, use a rubric, and assign to groups. 

Screenshot of discussion settings with arrows pointed to mark discussion and assign to groups.

To see discussion boards in action, see the video from about 01:00- 20:00

2 Journals

Journals and discussion boards are nearly identical. However, journals are an area of reflection that can be shared privately between tutors and individual students, whereas discussion posts are seen by everyone in the course (or everyone in the group if it was assigned to a group). 

To create a journal, go to the main Course Content page. Hover over where you want the discussion board to be, then click on the +, and select Create from the menu. In the side window, select Journal at the bottom of the options. Just like with discussion boards, you can change the title, enter a prompt, and change the availability of the item to students. For the time being, settings are very limited in journals and you can only make the item marked and determine the marking settings. 

To see this in action, see the video from about 25:00 – 30:00

Note: There is currently an issue that some instructors are having preventing them from adding Journals to their modules. For more information on this and a work-around, please check out our blog post. 08/10/20

3 Conversations

Conversations are also very similar to discussion boards with the key difference being that conversations are attached to an individual item in your course. Items that you can attach conversations to include:

  • Documents 
  • Assignments 
  • Group assignments 
  • Tests 
  • Group tests 
  • Offline submissions 
  • Links to teaching tools 

If you open a document from course content, you will see a on the cog wheel at the top right of the page. Click on this  and select the option to Allow class conversations then remember to click on Save at the bottom of the page.  Once you have clicked save, you will notice a speech bubble appear beside the cog  which indicates there is a conversation attached to this document.

That will become purple when there are new posts added which have not been viewed.  If you click on the purple speech bubble, you can see a small purple dot/s next to the new items which have not been read.

You’ll notice that this page looks just like the discussion boards, but without the ability to write a prompt message. 

To see this in action, see the video above from about 20:00 – 25:00

References

Updated on 30/08/2021

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