Teacher

Discussion activity editor

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Ryan Richins
  • Agilix team member

During the summer of 2017, we released a new Buzz UI, giving you the same features and functionality with a cleaner, simpler user experience!

Until all users have switched to the new UI, our Help Center articles will include information for both. 

Click the header below that aligns with the Buzz UI version you are using (Old UI or New UI); if you don't know which version you are using, review the differences and/or contact your system admin or Agilix account manager.

Old UI

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.

Create discussions

Add this activity to your course.

The Discussion Editor is made up of following tabs:

  • The Activity tab.
  • The Data tab.
  • The Objectives tab.
  • The Gradebook tab.
  • The Navigation tab.
  • The Discussion Settings tab.
  • The History tab.

The Groups dropdown at the bottom of the editor remains onscreen for all tabs. Use it when you want to make edits to the activity for only specific groups.

Discussion Activity tab

Use the Activity tab to:

  • Provide the activity Title.
  • Create descriptive Content using the rich text editor.
  • Click Add attachment to provide additional files.
  • Create Instructor Notes to Student using the rich text editor. Students can access this content by clicking a pencil icon at the top of the blog.

Discussion Data tab

Use the Data tab to:

  • Provide a Thumbnail image to represent the activity.
    • 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)
  • Define Metadata, like:
    • 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 associated 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 the 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.

Discussion Objectives tab

Use the Objectives tab to review and align objectives with the activity:

  • Check the boxes next to objectives to align them with the activity.
  • Use the dropdown to limit the displayed objectives to those that are created in the Course, to those inherited from the activity's Parent folder, or to only the Selected objectives. Any selected objective remains in the list for all three settings.
  • Use the Filter field to search objectives for words and phrases.
  • Edit objectives created in the course by clicking the pencil (edit) icon, and remove them by clicking the garbage can (delete) icon.

Discussion Gradebook tab

Check the boxes to choose to make the activity Gradable and to set a Due date.

If you choose to make it Gradable, you are able to specify:

  • The Category you want the activity to be a part of.
  • 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.
  • Whether you want the activity to be considered Extra credit.
  • The desired Score entry type (Points, Rubric, Percent (%), or Letter grade); if you choose Rubric, click Add rubric to define it.
  • The minimum Passing score (%).
  • The Minimum points possible.
  • Whether you want to Restrict score visibility by date, and, if so, the date and time the score becomes visible.
  • Whether the activity's Score can be dropped.
  • Whether to Include in final grade.
  • Whether to make a Passing score required for course credit.
  • Whether to Treat unscored as zero.

If you choose to set a Due date (not available for continuous courses), you can specify:

  • The Due date and time.
  • Whether you want to Allow late submissions, and, if so, what the Late rule and Grace period rules are.

Discussion Navigation tab

Use the Navigation tab to manage:

  • Visibility, specifying:
    • Whether the activity should be 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.
    • Whether the activity should be Visible in table of contents and/or Visible to students.
    • Whether to Restrict visibility by date, and, if so, the date and time the activity becomes visible.
    • Whether you want to Restrict visibility by mastery, and, if so, identify the Assignments and/or Objectives the student must successfully master before this activity becomes visible.
    • An activity Password that students must enter once to access the activity.
  • Completion requirements:
    • Mark as completed when student:
      • Views this activity for a specified time
      • Submits this activity
      • Receives any score
      • Receives a passing score
    • Whether the Student must complete before continuing.
  • Any Badge to assign student upon completion.
  • Advanced settings:
    • Changing the activity's Folder location using the dropdown.
    • Giving the activity a new activity ID in the ID field.

Discussion Settings tab

Use the Discussion Settings tab to:

  • Allow users to edit own posts.
  • Allow instructors to delete posts.
  • Indicate whether you want the activity to be a Non-threaded discussion, meaning it only has one thread and additional threads cannot be created.
  • Allow students to create new threads if you allow it to be a threaded discussion.

Discussion History tab

The History tab records changes made to the activity and allows you to retrieve previous versions of the questions, content, and rubrics:

  1. Click the version you want to restore.
  2. Preview the content.
  3. Click Restore.

Buzz does not itemize changes to all settings, but does track them. Users can access them by clicking the Data Changes link that appears at the bottom of the history table.

Discussion History tab
New UI

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.

Add this activity to your course.

With the activity editor:

  1. Use the Filter by group icon to make and/or review activity settings that apply only to specific groups.
  2. Preview the activity.
  3. Save changes.
  4. 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 that, 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 (formerly Homework) 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.

Activity tab

Use the Activity tab to:

  1. Provide the Title.
  2. 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.)
  1. Create descriptive Content about the activity using the rich text editor. This content always appears at the top of the activity.
  2. Click Add Activity Instructions to open a rich text editor to create instructions. Students can access this content by clicking a pencil icon at the top of the activity.
  3. Click Add attachment to provide files for students to review before starting the activity.

Settings tab

Activity settings

If you choose to set a Due date (not available for continuous courses), you can specify:

  1. The Due date and time.
  2. Whether you want to Allow late submissions, and, if so, what the Late rule and Grace period rules are.
  3. 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).
  4. 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:

  1. 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.)
  2. The desired Score entry type (Points, Rubric, Percent (%), or Letter grade):
    • If you choose Rubric, click Add rubric to define it (not available for all assessments).
    • If you choose Letter grade, a field appears where you can select the desired Grade scale.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Objective mastery

Visibility and access

With Visibility and access settings, you can choose to:  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Check the Block access until student completes other activity box, click Choose Activity, and select the activity or activities that you want to make access dependent on.
  4. 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.
  5. Check the Block access until a specified date box and enter the desired date and time.
  6. Check the Student must enter a password box and enter the desired Password. Students must enter this password only once to access the activity.

Badges

Click Choose Badge to select one or more badges that you want automatically awarded to students who successfully complete this activity.

Learn more:

Metadata

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:

  1. Whether you want to Hide returned scores until a certain date, and, if so, providing the Score visibility date and time.
  2. Defining the minimum Passing score (%).
  3. Settings the Minimum points possible.
  4. Whether:
    • 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:

  1. 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
  2. If the Student must complete this activity before continuing to the next one.
  3. Changing the activity's folder Location using the dropdown.
  4. Giving the activity a new Activity ID in the field.

History tab

The History tab records changes made to the activity and allows you to retrieve previous versions:  

  1. Click the version you want to restore.
  2. Preview the content.
  3. 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.

Comments (2)

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Varshini G

Discussion Settings has "Student Grouping" option. If we select a group under this menu, will the activity be available only for that group? Or does the activity take selected group's setting?

Scott Taylor
  • Agilix team member

Hello Varshini,

The "Student Grouping" option is designed to allow students in the same group to discuss together while not allowing them to see the discussions of members of different groups. This will use the group membership set in the Group tab to create the discussion groups.

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