Discussions allow you to create a learning activity in which students can respond to a prompt and interact with other students as part of focused conversation threads. All course members can add to and access the thread unless it is organized by groups, in which case each student can access only their group's threads.
Activity editor introduction
With the activity editor for any activity type:
- Use the Filter by group icon to make and/or review activity settings that apply only to specific groups.
- Preview the activity.
- Save changes.
- Depending on the type of activity you're editing, the Activity Editor can include up to four tabbed screens:
- Use the Activity screen to add/edit basic content, information, and metadata about an activity that is visible/accessible to the students (e.g., activity titles, thumbnail images, introductory content, instructions, attachments students need to complete the activity).
- Use the Settings screen to configure the way you want the activity to work for the students (e.g., gradebook settings, objective mastery and badge details, visibility, access).
- The Questions screen only appears for Assessment and Practice Question activity types. Use it to create and manage questions.
- The History screen only appears when changes have been made to an activity since its creation. Use it to review changes and restore previous versions of the activity's content.
Some cards in the Activity Editors are collapsed by default; to expand them, click the arrows.
Use the Activity tab to:
- Provide the Title.
- If you've set up Activity themes in your course, you can apply one with the Themes dropdown.
- Provide a Thumbnail image to represent the activity by clicking the plus sign next to the thumbnail.
- Recommended file type: PNG or JPG (Buzz converts all files into PNGs.)
- Ideal size: 400px x 400px (Buzz automatically resizes images, so uploading images smaller than 400px x 400px may reduce quality.)
- Create descriptive Content about the activity using the rich text editor. This content always appears at the top of the activity.
- Click Add Activity Instructions to open a rich text editor to create instructions.
- Click Add attachment to provide files for students to review before starting the activity.
Note: Some activity settings can be altered for multiple activities at once using Bulk edit.
If you choose to set a Due date (not available for continuous courses), you can specify:
- The Due date and time.
- This can also be managed in the Editor > Scheduling screen.
- Whether you want to Allow late submissions, and, if so, what the Late rule and Grace period rules are.
- Whether you want to:
- Allow users to edit own posts.
- Allow instructors to delete posts.
- Make this a Non-threaded discussion.
- Allow students to create new threads (not available for Non-threaded discussions).
- Require students to Post before they can view other posts.
- The desired Student grouping for the activity from the dropdown. Click Manage groupings to edit, delete, and/or create new groupings. Learn more: How do I create and manage groups?
Gradebook and submission
If you choose to make the activity Gradable, you can specify:
- The activity's numeric Weight in category; this number defines how much impact this activity's grade has on the final grade, relative to the other gradable activities in the same category. (Weight in category is not available in courses using Multi-Outcome Scoring.)
- The desired Score entry type (Points, Rubric, Percent (%), or Letter grade):
- The Grading category you want the activity to be a part of. Grading Categories allow you to apply different grade settings to groups of activities within the same course.
- The grading Period you want the activity to be a part of. Separate grading Periods allow you to divide grades by date range without building additional courses in Buzz.
- Whether you want the activity to be considered Extra credit.
In Multi-Outcome Scoring courses, Gradebook and submission allows you to align activities with Scoring objectives and requires you to use Points as the Score entry. Assign the desired number of Pts possible for each objective that you want aligned.
Click Choose Objective to align the activity with one or more objectives.
Visibility and access
With Visibility and access settings, you can choose to:
- Make the activity Visible to:
- Students, teachers and observers: This is the default setting for activities intended for students to complete.
- Teachers and observers: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that observers like parents, mentors, etc. need access to. A map icon appears next to these activities in the Activities pages for teachers and observers.
- Teachers only: This setting works well for Lesson Guide materials that only teachers need. A map icon appears next to these activities in the teacher Activities page.
- Check the Hide from student's table of contents and to-do list box. Note that it is still accessible with course links and bookmarks unless otherwise restricted.
- Check the Block access until student completes other activity box.
- If it appears, you can check the Require passing score if gradable for mastery (optional).
- Click Choose Activity, and select the activity or activities that you want to make access dependent on.
- Check the Block access until student masters objective(s) box, click Choose Objective, and select the objective(s) you want to make access dependent on.
- Check the Block access until a specified date box and enter the desired date and time.
- This can also be managed in the Editor > Scheduling screen.
- Check the Student must enter a password box, and enter the desired Activity password in the field.
- By default students must enter this password only once, and can access the activity without entering the password thereafter.
- If you want, you can check the Require password each visit to override the default.
- Note: Students can be excused from this setting for a specified amount of time by an administrator as part of their Accommodations. Overriding this setting for a student can be useful in a situation where passwords are provided during class, but a student is unable to attend for a period of time.
Admins can create custom Metadata fields for activities in their domain. This content is only visible to teachers, course authors, etc. and provides further insight into an activity, such as:
- An activity Description for course authors.
- An idea of how this activity fits into the goal of the course or the Big Picture.
- Essential Questions that should be answered by the activity or that students should keep in mind as they complete it.
- Any relevant Vocabulary.
- Associated Resources.
Some of the fields under Metadata ask for content that, if set up by your system admin, can be used to make an activity searchable in the Digital Library. Contact your system admin to find out if there are fields in your domain that can be used this way.
Advanced gradebook options
Manage Advanced gradebook options, like:
- Whether you want to Hide returned scores until a certain date, and, if so, providing the Score visibility date and time.
- Defining the minimum Passing score (%).
- Settings the Minimum points possible.
- The assessment's Score can be dropped from calculated course score (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).
- To Include this activity's score in the final grade calculation.
- To Require a passing score for course credit.
- To Treat as zero in gradebook until this activity is scored (unavailable if the activity is marked as Extra Credit in Gradebook and submission).
Advanced activity options
Manage Advanced activity options, like:
- Completion requirements. You can set the activity to Mark as completed when the student:
- Views this activity for a specified time
- Submits this activity
- Receives any score
- Receives a passing score
- If the Student must complete this activity before continuing to the next one.
- Changing the activity's folder Location using the dropdown.
- Giving the activity a new Activity ID in the field.
The History tab records changes made to the activity and allows you to retrieve previous versions:
- Click the version you want to restore.
- Preview the content.
- Click Restore.
Buzz does not itemize changes to all settings, but does track them. Users can access them by clicking the Details link that appears at the bottom of the history table.