This article outlines the process of creating Group Discussion topics. Group discussions allow the instructor to break a large class into smaller discussion groups to make online discussions more manageable and engaging. Group Discussions also provide students with a centralized area for collaboration on group projects. This is beneficial because it allows the instructor to monitor group member contributions. If you have not already done so, create the desired groups. For more information on creating groups, see the Group Setup article.


There are two methods for group discussions:

  • Method 1: Single Group Topic: This method filters a single discussion topic by group. Students will only see posts by those in their group, but the instructor can see all posts at once, or filter to see a specific group. Since grade items can only be associated to one discussion topic at a time, this method is recommended for graded group discussions.

  • Method 2: Separate Group Topics: This method creates a separate topic for each group. This setup can be useful for peer collaboration among group members. This method is not recommended for graded discussions.


Method 1: Single Group Topic

Navigate to the Discussion tool by clicking “Communications > Discussions" in the course navigation menu.


Create a new forum that will house the group discussions by click “New” and selecting “New Forum.”


Enter a title for the forum and set any other desired properties. Click “Save and Close” to return to the  discussion page.



Now create a new topic by clicking "New" and choosing "New Topic."



Choose the forum you just created in the forum drop down menu. For the "Topic Type," choose "Group or section topic, everyone can access this topic but students only see threads from their own group or section."


IMPORTANT! The "Group or Section Category" will default to sections. Be sure change this menu to select the group you created in the Groups tool.


Finally, enter a title for the discussion topic and continue with typical discussion setup.



When students access this topic, they will only see posts by others in their group. When instructors access the discussion, they will see all student posts. Instructors can filter posts by group by using the "Filter by" option:



Method 2: Separate Group Topics

Navigate to the Discussion tool by clicking “Communications > Discussions" in the course navigation menu.

Create a new forum that will house the group discussion topics by click “New” and selecting “New Forum.”


Enter a title for the forum and set any other desired properties. Click “Save and Close” to return to the discussion page.



Navigate to the "Group and Section Restrictions” tab on the Discussions main page.


On the "Group and Section Restrictions" page, select the group you created in “Group or Section Category” drop down. Then select the “Forum” that you created in the "Forum" drop down.


Finally, click “automatically create restricted topics.”


On the next screen, confirm the “Group Category” and “Forum” and click “Create.”


The system will automatically create a restricted topic for each group. Click “Save” to return to the Discussion List page.



On the “Discussion List” screen, the instructor will see a topic for each group.



Students will only see the discussion topic associated with their group.