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Posted at 9:13 a.m. Aug. 30, 2016, by in Sakai, Uncategorized

Forums, Topics, and Conversations

Within the Forums tool, there is an organizational hierarchy which can be broken down into the following components:


This is the highest level of organization within this tool.  Often, we recommend that each course have two forums – one for graded/required discussions, and another for optional discussions.

  • To create a new forum, select ‘New Forum’.
  • Add your forum title (ex: “Required Discussions”)
  • Select ‘Save’ or ‘Save Settings & Add Topic’ to begin adding discussion threads to this new forum.

The Forum (‘Required Discussions’) is indicated by the tan bar. Below that, you will see the Topic (‘Chapter 1 Discussion’) within which students can create Conversations.


Creating a Topic within the Forum will provide your participants with space to respond to your discussion prompt.

  • To create a new Topic, select ‘New Topic’ next to the Forum title.
  • Enter a Topic title, such as ‘Chapter 1 Discussion.’
  • You may enter a short description to briefly summarize the theme of the discussion.
  • For a detailed discussion prompt, use the longer description box.
  • You may add attachments if necessary to support your discussion prompt.
  • If desired, you may specify open and close dates to limit this discussion to a specific window of time.
  • To assign a grade to this discussion, select an already-created gradebook item from the dropdown menu ‘Gradebook Item.’
  • Save your topic or select ‘Save Settings & Add Topic’ to continue adding discussions.

Your participants will respond to your discussion prompt by creating Conversations.

  • Course participants will be able to respond within an open Topic by selecting ‘Start a New Conversation.’
  • To respond to an already-posted conversation, participants will select ‘Reply.’
  • To respond to the initial post within a conversation thread, participants can select ‘Reply to Initial Message.’

If you have any questions at all about using the Forums tool in Sakai, please contact the Department of Instructional Design & Technology.

Video below demonstrates adding Forums tool, creating topics for student discussion

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