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In the Discussion tool in your D2L courses, your instructor may create topics for discussion. Students can respond to the topic, reply to messages from classmates, and view all of their classmates' responses. Instructors may also post topics for small group discussions.

This page includes information on:

Watch the LTS Online Help tutorial on navigating the Discussions tool in D2L v10.3: 

Navigating Discussions v10.3

In version 10.3, the layout of the Discussion tool has changed. Changes in the new version include:

  • Discussion messages in topics are now organized in threads or conversations in which an original post is grouped with the related replies. Messages cannot be displayed individually in a list or grid view.

  • When you click on Discussions on the navigation bar, the list of forums and topics display.

  • The number of threads and posts display to the right of each Topic title.

    • The Threads and Posts numbers in the example below mean 82 messages (original posts & replies) in 54 threads (conversations) in this topic.

    • Of those 82 posts, 5 have not yet been read by you.
  • Discussion 10.3 Topic Statistics

  • Clicking on a topic title displays the Topic View showing the topic description at the top of the page and the original posts in each thread in table format below.

    • Breadcrumb links for the Topic View:
       Discussions 10.3 Topic View breadcrumb links
    • Statistics for each thread appear below the thread title:
       Discussions 10.3 thread statistics

  • Clicking on an original post in a topic displays the conversation or Thread View.

    • Breadcrumb links for the Thread View:
       Discussions 10.3 Thread View breadcrumb

    • This view includes the original post in the thread at the top of the screen; related replies are displayed in table format below the original post.

  • Threads containing unread posts are emphasized with a bolded vertical bar to the left of the thread.
    Discussions 10.3 unread thread

  • Filter and sort options appear above the threads in the Topic View; similar filters appear in the Thread View.
    Discussions 10.3 filter and sort

Discussion Statistics

Before clicking on a topic in the Discussion area, the statistics for individual topics display to the right of the topic title. This information allows you to see the total number of threads and posts in that topic, the number of messages you have not yet read, and the number of times students have viewed that topic. You can also see when the last post was made as well as which user posted the last comment.

Reading a Message

On the navigation bar, click Discussions. The Discussions List appears displaying the forums in bolded black typeface and the topics within in bolded blue typeface. Topics are where discussions take place.

  1. From the Discussions List, click on the topic title you wish to view.

  2. You will now see the threads within the chosen topic. The original message in each thread displays. To view any replies in each thread, click on the thread title.

  3. Read the threads and replies in the Discussion topics.

  4. Use the following options to view and participate:
    Discussion options table

Replying to a Message

When you read messages, you may decide reply to one or more of them. Reply differs from Start a New Thread in that the message you create becomes part of the conversation established by the original message.

  1. On the navigation bar, click Discussions.
    The Discussions List appears.

  2. From the Discussions List, click on the title of the topic you wish to view.
    The list of threads in that topic appears. The details of the topic are located above the threads.

  3. Click on a thread title to view that specific conversation.
    The original post in the thread is located at the top of the page. Replies are in table format below the original post.

  4. Press Reply below the chosen message.
    The html editor/message window appears below the chosen message.

  5. Type your message in the message window.

    Note: The default subject is the same as the subject of the message that you are replying to, prefaced with "Re:"

  6. When finished, press Post.
    Your reply is posted as part of the thread.

    Optional: Uncheck Subscribe to this thread if you do not wish to be notified each time someone replies to this thread.

Composing a New Message

When you add a new message, you begin a new thread in the discussion instead of replying to a message already posted.

  1. On the navigation bar, click Discussions.
    The Discussions List appears.

  2. From the Discussions List, click on a topic title.
    The topic details display, showing the topic description at the top of the screen, Start a New Thread below the description, and the threads within the topic in table format below the topic description.
  3. Press the Start a New Thread button.
    The title and message screen appears.

  4. In the Enter a subject field, type the desired title for your message.

  5. In the text box below the subject line, type your message.

    Optional: Attach a file or record audio by clicking on the Add Attachments link below the message text box.
    Optional: Uncheck Subscribe to this thread if you do not want to receive notifications of additional messages in this thread.

  6. Click Spell Check spell check 
    Misspelled words will appear in red.

  7. If you are satisfied with your message, click Post. Your message is posted and begins a new thread in the discussion.

    Recommendation: Students who have posted lengthy messages have occasionally reported that parts of the message were missing after pressing the Post button. Therefore, we recommend that you save early and save often when composing new, lengthy messages in the Discussion tool. Saving periodically will protect you from losing your message due to computer, network, or D2L issues.
  • To save as you compose your message, press the Save as Draft button.
    Discussion Save As Draft Button
  • This function will also allow you to return to your message at a later time to complete and post it.

  • To locate the draft of your message, return to the discussion topic in which you created and saved the message. Locate the Filter by: options above the list of threads:
  • Press Drafts. Your draft message(s) will then display.

Attaching a File to a Message


  1. In a new discussion message or in a reply, type your message.

  2. The link Discussions 10.3 Add Attachments link is located below the message text box
  3. Click Add Attachments
    The Add Attachments options appear.

    Discussions 10.3 Add Attachments detail

    1. Press Upload to select a file from your computer.
    2. OR, press Choose Existing to choose a file from your locker or from ePortfolio.
    3. You may also press Record Audio to attach an audio recording (five-minute maximum) to your message.
    4. Select your file.
    5. Press Open (or Add or Select depending on the location of the document selected).
    6. The file appears in the Attach File text box.

  4. When you are finished with your message, press Post.

Discussion Viewing Options

With Desire2Learn, you can customize your view of discussions.

Discussion Settings

  1. On the navigation bar, click Discussions.
    The Discussions List appears.

  2. Choose Settings Settings_1 in the upper right.

  3. Select the desired options:

    Discussions 10.3 Student Settings
    Hint: For information on any of the options, click the Get Help icon. view get help

  4. When finished, click Save.

Sorting and Searching

You may sort messages within a discussion topic chronologically and alphabetically. You may also choose to sort the posts according to the most highly rated.

  1. From the Course Home page, on the navigation bar, choose Discussions.

  2. Open the desired topic by clicking on the topic title. You will then see the list of threads in the Topic View.

  3. Click on the Sort By dropdown menu above the list of threads.

    Discussions 10.3 Sort by dropdown menu

  4. Choose the desired sort option from the dropdown menu. Wait a moment. The screen refreshes and messages are displayed in the chosen order.

    Discussions 10.3 Sort Options

  5. These sorting options are also available in the Thread View; click on a thread title in the Topic View to view the post and replies in that thread.

  6. You may also use the Search feature in the upper right of the Topic View (click on a topic title to see the threads within) or the Thread View (click on a thread title to view the post and replies in the thread).

  7. In the Search field in the upper right of the Topic View or the Thread View; enter your search term(s) and press the magnifier icon to the right of the Search field:

    Discussions 10.3 search field

    You may search on first names, last names, or on terms that may appear in posted messages.

Subscribing to Discussions

You can subscribe to forums or specific topics and specific threads that are posted in Discussions. If you are subscribed to a forum or topic or thread, you will receive notifications when new messages are posted in those forums or topics.

Note: In version 10.3, users are automatically subscribed to threads after creating or replying to a thread.

Once you have set up Notifications in D2L, you will be able to subscribe to Discussion forums, topics and threads in specific courses.

  1. Access the D2L course for which you would like to subscribe to discussions. From the Navigation bar within this course, click Discussions.
  1. To subscribe to a forum or topic, click on the arrow to the right of the forum or topic name; choose Subscribe from the dropdown menu.

Forum:  subscribeforum

Topic:  subscribetopic

  1. To subscribe to a thread, click on  to the right of the posted date/time:

  1. A dialogue box will appear on your screen. In this box you are able to choose whether you would like to be notified via email instantly of changes to this forum or topic, or if you would simply like it included in your summary of activity.

    Note: From this screen you can also change your notification settings by clicking Change your notification settings in a new window.

    customize notifgications
  1. Click Subscribe to continue. The color of the star in the dropdown menu will become blue to show you that you have subscribed to this topic.

    Note: If you subscribed to an entire forum, notice that the stars for each topic within that forum have turned blue as well. This indicates that you have subscribed to every topic in that forum.

  2. To unsubscribe from a forum or topic at any time, access the menu to the right of the forum or topic or thread and choose Unsubscribe.
  • A dialogue box will appear to confirm that you wish to unsubscribe.

  • Click Yes to continue. Notice that the star in the dropdown menu you have unsubscribed from has returned to its original gray color.

Help Desk

For more information or to request a service, contact the LTS Help Desk:
HelpDeskLogo715-836-5711 | | OL1106

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