D2L - Discussion for Students (UW-Madison)


UW-Madison is adopting Canvas as the single, centrally supported learning management system, and discontinuing support for Desire2Learn (D2L) and Moodle. Access to D2L and Moodle will permanently end June 1, 2018. For information about retaining materials from D2L or Moodle, please refer to this document.

A tutorial for students on how to use the Discussion feature in Learn@UW.

Quick Navigation

Locating Discussion Homepage

To find where your discussions are posted within a course, follow these steps:

  1. Login to Learn@UW and select the course name.
  2. Once on the homepage of the course, you will need to locate navigation bar at the top of the Learn@UW course page. The image below is an example of what you should see toward the right of your course's navigation bar.

    A picture of the navigation bar.

  3. Once you have located your navigation bar, you will click on Communication. This will display a drop-down menu.         
  4.   **Note: Your instructor may have changed the appearance of the navigation bar for your course. It is possible that Discussion is listed in the navigation bar rather than in the Communication drop-down menu. If you do not see a Discussion option in your course's navbar, your instructor likely removed it because you will not being using that feature of this course.
  5. From the drop-down menu you will select Discussion. Selecting Discussion will bring you to your course's Discussion homepage.

Discussion Basics - Layout and Vocabulary

When you first enter the Discussion Homepage, it should look something similar to this:

A sample of a Discussion Homepage. It contains a Forum and a Topic.

Here are a list of words commonly associated with Learn@UW's Discussion feature that are shown in the image above and what they mean for you as a student:

Forum: As a student, you will not be creating forums. It is an organizational tool used by instructors to group topics.

Topic: The topic section contains information about how many threads and posts are in each topic. As a student, you will be using the topics created by your instructors to navigate to the appropriate page to either create a thread or reply to another student's thread. You will not be creating topics.

Thread: A subsection of topic. As a student you are able to create threads. When you create a thread it will be located under the specific topic you created it under.

Reply or Post: As a student, you are able to reply  to threads or other replies within a thread. When you reply to a thread, the response will be located under that specific thread.


As a student, you will either be starting a new thread or replying to a thread when you post in a topic. Which you will be doing with depend on your instructor. Ideally, your instructor should note which they would like you do somewhere in the topic.

Creating a New Thread

  1. Navigate to the Discussion homepage.
  2. From the list of topics, select the topic you want to post a message in.
  3. Click on the blue button that says Start a New Thread. You will be redirected to a new page that looks like this:

    A blank Thread page.

  4. In the box that says Enter a subject you will write the title of your thread. The title should be descriptive of the content you will be posting in the thread.
  5. In the larger box is where you will create your post. If you click within the blank box you are able to insert text. Using the toolbar above, you can modify the appearance of the test.
    • To insert files from your computer you will use the Insert Stuff Insert Stuff button.  button.
    • To insert images, you will use the Insert Image Insert Image button.  button or the Insert Stuff Insert Stuff button.  button.
    • To insert a link, you will use the Insert Quicklink Insert Quicklink button.  button.
  6. Once you have completed writing your post, click on the blue Post button to post your thread.

Editing a Thread

  1. To edit a thread you have already created, navigate to the topic you posted the thread under.
  2. Locate the thread you created under the topic.
  3. Click on the downward pointing arrow next to the name of your thread and click Edit Thread.
    An image of a thread's dropdown option from the perspective of the student who created the thread.
  4. This will redirect you to the thread creation page you used to initially create your thread. Once you are on this page you can edit your thread.
    Example of the page you would edit your Thread on.
  5. Once you are done editing your thread, click on the blue Update button to repost your edited thread.

Replying to a Thread

  1. To reply to a thread, navigate to the thread you will be replying in.
  2. Once you are in the thread (The name of the thread should be listed at the top of your page) you can click on the blue Reply to Thread button that is either above or below the posts.
    • Clicking the Reply to Thread above the posts will list your reply on top of all the other replies.
    • Clicking the Reply to Thread below the posts will list your reply below all the other replies.
  3. Regardless which you choose, you will be redirected to a page that will allow you to format a post. If you do not want the original thread's message to be displayed in your new reply, delete everything below "<<<Replied to post below>>>."
    An example of a Thread the user can reply to.
  4. If you change the the box that has the name of the thread in it (Located above the box that will contain your reply) it will give a name to your reply.
  5. Once you have completed formatting your reply, hit the blue Post button.
Replying to a Reply in a Thread
  1. To reply to a reply within a thread, navigate to the thread you will be replying in.
  2. Locate the post within the thread that you want to reply to.
  3. Click on the blue Reply Reply button.button located below the post.
    An example of a reply with a thread you can reply to.
  4. This will redirect you to a page where you can create a reply.
  5. Follow steps 3 through 5 in Reply to a Thread for assistance on how to create and post a reply.

Editing a Reply to a Thread

  1. To edit a reply to a thread or a reply to a reply in a thread functions the same.
  2. First, locate the reply that you wish to edit within the thread it was posted under.
  3. Toward the top of your reply you will see your name and an upside down arrow. Click on the arrow and click on Edit Post.An image of the dropdown to edit your post.
  4. You will be redirected to a page that will allow you to edit your reply.
  5. Once you have finished editing, click on the blue Update button.

Keywords:discussion learn@UW student students post post learnuw discuss edit create creating reply thread forum topic   Doc ID:41124
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW Madison
Created:2014-06-16 15:09 CDTUpdated:2017-12-04 12:29 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW Madison
Feedback:  1   0