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mgorham
Community Participant

Is it possible to separate sections in discussions using threaded replies but still use "Users must post before seeing replies"?

Basically what I said above. I want my students to see the discussions from other classes, but I want their initial post to be grouped with the others from their class (thus making it easier to grade). My thought to make this happen was to have the discussion prompt as the initial post and then to make a reply to that post for each of my sections. Allowing threaded discussions, students would then reply to the prompt as a reply in the appropriate place. The problem with this is that I also want to use the aforementioned feature: "Users must post before seeing replies". If I enable this feature they won't be able to see the replies I created to the prompt to divide them by section. Anyone know if there is a way around this or a better way to group discussion responses by section?

7 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @mgorham , to be clear you'd like the following: (1) to have students initially respond only within their class section, (2) not allow people to see what others posted until they posted, and (3) allow students to later on see everything from both sections. If this is correct, then you've got me stumped. I can think of a work around for just about any 2 of the 3 above, but not all three. Hmm... hopefully someone else will have an idea and I'll also continue to think about this to see if I can come up with anything.

Kona

mgorham
Community Participant

Yes  @kona ‌. This was an example I was trying out in the class I am building.Discussion Example

Other replies would follow for the other periods. Each student would then find their period and their reply would be threaded together with their classmates. That was the idea at least. If I had to lose one of the three criteria I listed it would probably be the ability of all sections to interact, but I wouldn't want to lose that across the board (in other words, I don't want to use the setting where "users can only interact with their section"). One thought I had was to create a content page that would link to each classes individual discussion (this would work since the class is designed using the modules feature), but I would lose the ability for all of my sections to collaborate then. 

James
Community Champion

 @mgorham 

I have not tested this, but in theory ...

If it is a graded discussion, then you can use differentiated assignments.

  1. Create the discussion for the first course, set the due dates and the options you want, including the post-first option.
  2. Use the relatively new duplicate feature to make a copy of the discussion for each additional section.
  3. Edit each discussion to assign it to just one section of your classes.
  4. Let students participate in the discussion until the discussion is over.
  5. Go into the gradebook and Excuse the grade for every student for the discussions they weren't supposed to participate in. I would make sure that everyone in the current section had their grade and then use the Set Default Grade option in the gradebook for the other sections.
  6. Go into all of the discussions and remove the differentiated assignment so that it is available to everyone.
  7. Tell your students to go into the other discussions and find out about the students not in their sections.
  8. You may want to close the discussions for further comments. If a student made a post, it might show up as needed-graded in your To Do list. That may or may not be a nuisance to you.

Canvas just added the ability to assign a non-graded discussion to a section. See Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-06-23)  for more information. So another option would be to make a single grade that held the grade for all the students. This would need to be manual entry since it would not show up with the student's posts in SpeedGrader. You would still set it up the same way with the copies for each section, but it would eliminate the need to go through and Excuse a bunch of grades. If it's not graded at all, then you just assign the sections within the discussion rather than using differentiated assignments.

This does not keep students from seeing students in other sections for anything other than this assignment.

Not easy, but what you asked for isn't supported directly. Students cannot see responses -- even those from the instructor -- until they post their response when that "Users must post before seeing replies" option is checked.

You may also want to make sure that students cannot delete or edit their posts -- although that is a global setting. That way you don't have students going in and making a trivial post just to see what others have written.

For the particular discussion that you describe, I would think that the lesser evil would be the post first requirement, but it may not be in other cases and it's your course. If you were willing to let that one go, it becomes a much easier problem and you can set it up exactly like you wanted with a separate response that they were to find and respond to. You assign it with a single assignment, no need for separate ones or differentiation, and everyone can see all the other responses. If you go that way, I would use a heading with the section name in your responses to make it easier to find -- the indentation is a little hard to follow sometimes.

The other thing that you can do is add a question 0 that asks them what class they're in and give options. It doesn't group students from the same section together, but it provides away to quickly identify them. You can even use the search feature for the section name or time to filter those students from just that class. Of course, if you ask students to say they're in the 9:00 class, some will put 9am or 9 am and then it breaks the quick filtering through the search option. At least the search is not case sensitive.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I don’t get to say this (to James) often, but I don’t believe #5 from above will work. By differentiating the discussion it automatically grays out the grade box for students not included on that discussion. To those students the discussion for the other section doesn’t even exist in their gradebook and as such no grade, including an EX, can be entered.

Yet, as soon as you get to #6 and remove the differentiate from the discussion then you could go back to the gradebook and enter in the EX for the students who were in the other section - so similar to #5. But, I’m pretty sure that by entering an EX for a student for a discussion you remove their ability to participate in a graded discussion - and possibly view the discussion thread (but I’m really not sure, pure conjuncture at this point). I’ll admit I haven’t tested this for a discussion (I’m on my phone right now), but for an assignment if you enter in an EX then the student can’t submit to that assignment or participate in a peer review.

James
Community Champion

 @kona , that's why I said in theory and I hadn't tested it. I almost switched 5 and 6 when I wrote it but was trying to avoid the period where students got notifications that "Hey, you need to complete this discussion." If you set the available until dates in the options when you set it up, it probably wouldn't be an issue.

 @mgorham  you would also need to remove the ability to post first if you want the other sections to be able to see the comments. I left that part out.

I hope the bigger point wasn't lost -- while getting all three accomplished may be doable, it's not easy, and living with 2 out of the 3 options should be considered.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Interesting update to all of this... I was able to do some testing and here's what I found out.

If a student is marked as EX (excused) for a discussion then they can still view the discussion and participate in the discussion (normal post first rules apply if utilized). Yet, it doesn't show up as a graded discussion when they click on it (it basically becomes a non-graded discussion) and it will also show up as excused (EX) in their gradebook (so won't impact their course grade). 

What this means is that if you start by differentiating the Discussions you can initially have the students only participate in the discussion for their section. You can then (1) grade each discussion - in the long run this will make your life MUCH easier, (2) remove the differentiated part, (3) in the gradebook mark students as EX for the section discussion they didn't have to participate in, and (4) and remove the post first requirement. This way students will be able to see everything posted in the other section discussion, but they will be kept separate. 

Hope this information helps you as you try to figure out the best way to make this work for you and your class!

Kona

kyle_lehman
Community Participant

Max,

When you want to grade them individually in their section, go to "Gradebook" and in the upper right hand corner select "Showing All Sections" and then change it to the class you want and then click on the assignment you want to grade. For discussions it will show you their original post and then the replies they made to others.

I however want the opposite. We have all three of my sections banded together but I don't want the sections to be able to see everyone's answers. I guess it doesn't matter to me but looking at building relationships and the culture of our class, I would like them to only see their classes answers.  Anyone know how to do that/