This article shows instructors how to create suggested discussion topics (hashtags) that course/Network members can use to label their posts and reflections. Hashtags help structure social discussions because in CN there are no discussion threads like in traditional discussion forums. Labeling posts with relevant hashtags help members find posts and reflections of their interests. Data has shown that the number of instructor-suggested hashtags positively correlates with discussion participation measured by the course Anar Seeds.
Note: Since July 31, 2023, every new course and Network begins with 5 default hashtags (i.e., #SelfIntro, #NeedHelp, #Assignment&Projects, #Tips, #Update). Instructors may edit or remove them as needed.
Create and Edit Course Discussion Topics/Hashtags
STEP 1: Go to your course/Network and look for the "Discussion Topics" section. For Classic courses, it is on the bottom-left side of the course Home page. For Pathway courses, it is on the bottom-left side of the "Posts" page.
Click on the pencil icon next to "Instructor Suggested"
STEP2: Enter your desired course discussion topics
You do not need to type in the hashtag (#) at the beginning. You can leave space between words. Simply enter a word or term and press Enter to begin creating the next one. The topics can be course topic format (such as "behavioral therapy", or "Sigmund Freud", schedule format (such as "week 2 discussion"), general activity format (such as "ask instructor", "guest lecture"), etc.
You may make the following changes to existing topics:
- To edit a topic, double-click the tag, make changes, then press enter when finished.
- Instructors can also rearrange topics - the order of the topics in the list shown will be their display order. To rearrange topics, simply drag and drop.
- To delete a topic, click on the X next to the word(s) you wish to delete.
HINT: If you have another CN course that has used hashtags in the past, you can import them too. See below.
STEP 3: Save course discussion topics
After you are done creating course discussion topics, click the SUBMIT button. You will see the topics automatically turn into hashtag format and listed on the left course menu.
View and Monitor Course Discussion Topics/Hashtags
After course members make posts using your suggested discussion topics, "New" will appear and the adjusted number will be shown next to the hashtag used. Click the hashtag will filter course posts and reflections that contain the hashtag.
Instructors can also click the little table icon to download discussion topic based analytics.
Related article: Use Hashtags in Posts