Video: Create Graded Discussions

Watch a video about graded discussions

The following unnarrated video provides a visual representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Graded Discussions shows how to enable grading for discussions and then grade your students' contributions.

Graded discussion settings

To motivate students to post insightful contributions, you can make the discussion count for a grade.

Select the Discussion Settings icon to open a panel with options for your discussion. In the Details & Information section, select the check box for Grade discussion and more options appear, such as the due date and maximum points. The maximum points apply to one or more posts made by a student. When you enable grading for a discussion, a column is created automatically in the gradebook.

Discussion Settings panel

Encourage original ideas. Some students may rely too much on the thoughts of others when they draft responses. Hidden responses and replies can help students cultivate their own ideas on your initial discussion topic. Select Post first to hide discussion activity from students until they respond to the discussion. When you want to use both post first and groups, select Post first before you assign groups.

Set the participation due date. You can hide the discussion after the due date so students can no longer add responses and replies or edit their previous posts.

Time limit accommodations don't apply to discussions.

Choose the grade unit. You can choose Points, Percentage, or Letter. Specify the maximum points possible for the graded discussion.

Choose the grade category. A best practice in course design is to use a variety of assessments. Categorizing assessments is important to instructors who assign weight to categories in the overall grade calculation

Assign a rubric. After you select Grade discussion, you can create or add an existing rubric so students can view the requirements of the graded work. Rubrics can help you evaluate student submissions based on key criteria that you define. You may associate only one rubric to each discussion.

Align goals with the discussion. You and your institution can use goals to measure student achievement across programs and curriculums. When you create a discussion, you can align one or multiple goals. Select Align with goals to search for available goals. After you make the discussion visible, students can view the goals so they know your expectations.

Use groups. You can create discussion groups and grade their contributions.

Finished? Select Save. You can edit these grade settings until you begin to grade.

Remember to make your discussion visible to students so that they can contribute their ideas!


Students see the participation due date for a graded discussion in the same places as other due dates or events. These notifications appear in the activity stream, global calendar, and the course calendar.


Students with accommodations appear with an icon next to their names in the gradebook, discussions, and roster. Students don't see the accommodations you've added. Only the due date accommodation applies to discussions.

Grade a discussion

In graded discussions, grades are based on each student's total contributions, not each individual post. Reminder: Students can contribute and edit their posts until the due date.

You can access the grading workflow from these areas:

  • In the list where your name appears, select Grades.
  • Select the Gradebook icon on the navigation bar at the top of your course page. Select the graded discussion from the list. The Grades & Participation page appears.
  • Select the Discussions icon on the navigation bar at the top of your course page. Select the graded discussion from the list. Select the Grades & Participation link.

On the Grades & Participation page, select students' names to open pages with their contributions. Students' responses and replies are highlighted on their submission pages.

View the discussion analysis for an in-depth look at each student’s discussion participation, sentence complexity, critical thinking level. These performance-based insights show who has low participation or may need assistance.

Type a grade and feedback for this student at the top of the page. You can add a numeric value of five or fewer digits and two digits after a decimal point. Select the feedback icon next to the grade pill to open the feedback panel. The feedback panel persists on the side of the screen so you can scroll through the page and add overall feedback. You can also embed an audio/video recording of your feedback in the editor as you grade. Students can watch or listen to your feedback alongside any text you include.

If you've assigned a rubric to the discussion, select the grade pill with the rubric icon to open the rubric panel. You can directly type a grade or select values from the rubric to add to the grade.

When you're ready to reveal the grade to the student, open the menu and select Post.

Assign a grade in the gradebook

You can also assign a grade in the gradebook. New Submission appears in cells when students have submitted work. Select View in the menu to open the student's contributions to the discussion.