External Apps: Creating and Managing Ed Discussion Threads
The following article will address the following information
Posting New Threads
Click the  New Thread button. In the central discussion space, a new thread box will appear where you can begin to craft your message.
Select what  kind of thread you want to start, either a(n):
- Question - Default thread for students that is answered by instructor and/or other students
- Post - Thread to promote discussion about a specific topic
- Announcement - Thread that sends an email to the class (instructors only)
Provide a  Title for the Thread. Select the  Category the thread should be organized under, then write your message in the  Content Editor box. Check off any  Post / Comment Settings that are applicable in this thread, and then click  Post.
Utilizing the Content Editor
The Content Editor allows users to format text, insert multimedia, and other programming language snippets. It also supports LaText and chemical and mathematical equations by directly typing in Markdown and LaTex syntax. Below is a brief introduction to the Content Editor functions.
- Polls - Create short straw polls for students to respond to. Learn more about Ed Discussion Polls.
- Text Style - Change the text style to insert Header tags, blockquotes, and specific Callouts that change the text color and background.
- Insert Image - Embed an image from a file on your computer or from a URL link.
- Embed Video - Embed a video from a URL link from sites like YouTube or Vimeo.
- Upload a File - Upload a file from your computer for students to download.
- Insert LaTex - Write direct input of LaText math equations into the Content Editor (using the dollar syntax) or build equations with the visual math editor to see a live preview in the LaTex editing window.
- Image Annotation - Insert a blank canvas or upload an image to have students annotate over.
- Preview - Open a preview window to show what the new Thread will look like when posted.
Post / Comment Settings
Below the Content Editor are a set of post / comment settings for each Thread type during creation that can be enabled or disabled. The settings offered are slightly different depending on if you want to post a new Question, Post, or Announcement Thread. Below is a table highlighting which post/comment settings are available to use depending on the Thread type.
Pinned - Keeps the Thread at the top of the category's thread list.
Private - A thread that is only visible to you and other staff in the course (i.e. other instructors and TAs).
Anonymous - Allows students to hide their identity from each other when making new Threads. (Note that staff will always be able to see the names of students regardless of whether this is selected.)
Anonymous Comments - Allows students to hide their identity from each other when posting comments. (Note that staff will always be able to see the names of students regardless of whether this is selected.)
Megathread - Allows instructors to consolidate student questions under a specific topic.
Email - Sends an email notification to all course members with the content of the Thread.
Replying / Interacting with Threads
Once a Thread has been made, you and your students have a number of ways to reply / interact with the thread that can facilitate discussion, collaboration, and communication.
Hearts, Stars, and Watch
Instructors and students can click the  Heart on comments and threads they find useful, while clicking the  Star on the threads they want to refer to later.
The number of Hearts that a post receives is viewable by the entire class, but Star is private to the individual.
The  Watch icon allows users to manage their notifications for that thread. They can click to switch between three different modes:
- Not Watching - notified of direct replies only
- Watching - receive notifications about all activities
- Ignoring - never notified
Only Instructors can Pin a Thread. Pinning a thread keeps the thread at the top of the Category's thread list.
Resolving and Endorsing Student Responses
When reviewing student Question threads, Instructors and Staff can take a student comment and  Convert to Answer by clicking the three dots below the comment.
Instructors can then  Endorse a response that exemplifies a good and/or strong answer, which will put a blue ribbon on the post/comment. Instructors can also  Accept a comment to mark the question as resolved.
Removing Duplicate Threads
If a new thread is created that duplicates the discussion or question in another thread, you can consolidate the threads. Click the three dots on a thread and select  Mark as Duplicate.
A new window will pop up where you can select which Thread this is a duplicate of, and then confirm by clicking the  Mark as Duplicate button.
Instructors can take advantage of using Mentions to instantly notify a student or other user about a discussion. In the content box, type the "@" and then the users name to notify and draw them into the discussion.
Students cannot @Mention course staff or other students.
Search and Filters
Ed Discussion supports a variety of ways to search, filter, and sort Threads. Utilizing the  Search Box, you can conduct a full-text search by typing in keywords.
All Threads that match will appear in the Search Results. You can also  Filter your search results by selecting from things like Unread/Read, New Replies, Categories, and Date.
For more help with Ed Discussions, please email vendor support at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.