Our continued investment on discussion improvements has led us to revisit the usability and learner experience for inline discussions. The following post describes the set of upcoming changes, which we expect to fully roll out within the next two weeks.

Inline Discussion Modules Today

We recently made changes that hid the “Add a Post” button until learners expanded the inline discussion component. In addition, a title and subtitle on this component make the topic of the discussions clearer to both instructors and learners.

Current expanded inline discussion component.

This same inline discussion experience is reused in both the teams experience and on the discussions profile page for each learner. In the included image below you can see how this inline discussion component renders within the teams application. Learn more about the Teams application in our documentation.

A similar inline discussion experience for teams is shown. Teams are optionally configured by courses as a separate application

An example discussion forum learner profile, showing a learner's active thread and usage

Upcoming Inline Navigation Changes

In a week or so, we will further update the inline discussion component so that learners can more concisely see the full list of posts prior to expanding or selecting a post to then read. In addition, learners will have sorting and filtering controls on this component as shown in the screenshot below.

We have also incorporated the same discussion preview line over to the main discussion app navigation recently. This should help learners discern which posts are for them using this additional context.

The main post listing area in the discussion application now also shows a post preview line as in the inline discussion component.

Once a learner decides they would like to read a post and the select a post, they are directed to the full post while still remaining on this page. Learners can then click the All Posts button to go back to the post listing view.

Post details level for new inline discussion experience

Finally, this same two level experience made up of a post listing and post details view will also be applied to the Teams experience as well as the Discussion learner profile pages.

Update: Below are screenshots for the updates to the teams experience and the discussion learner profile page.

Teams application inline discussion improvements

Visual updates to the discussions learner profile

Discussions Next and Future

After these inline discussion component improvements, we will be working on a behind the scenes (Elasticsearch) upgrade of our discussions experience to facilitate more rapid improvements in the future. Looking further into the future we plan to improve discussion topic configuration to help make it easier to set up course discussions. You can follow details for this project if you are interested by following the Discussion Redesign initiative page on our Confluence wiki tool.