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Creating global topics will be an important task for you as an online instructor, so it's crucial that you understand how to do this. Odds are, though, that you will not need to create your own topics for assignments and discussions.

  1. If you are teaching a newer class, assignment and discussion topics will have been generated for you automatically, as part of the course build process.
  2. If you are teaching an older class, you can request that global topics be imported for you — provided that a previous instructor created topics.

How can you tell whether you need to create or import topics?

The easiest way to tell whether or not your class needs global topics for the assignments and discussions is to visit your Discussion page and click the link to "Pending Topics" (under "Instructor Tools").  

Scenario 1: Topics are listed for all modules

If under "Pending Topics" you see a long list of topics for Modules 1-15, then you are good to go!

  • Scenario 1A — Global Topics: If the topics have little globe icons next to them, then these are global topics, which have already been imported for you. You will need to review and possibly edit them, to make sure all the information is correct and relevant to your class.


  • Scenario 1B — Automatically-Generated Topics: If the topics you see do NOT have globe icons, then you are working in with a newer class and these topics were generated automatically. You're all set!


Scenario 2: Only Standard topics appear

If you have no topics — or only the standard start-up topics ("Instructor's Office" and "Student Lounge" and "Welcome...") — listed under "Pending Topics," you will need to request that global topics be imported for you from a previous instructor's section. Contact your department to put in your request.

In those rare cases where no global topics have yet been created, you will need to create them yourself. This is a bit of a chore, admittedly, but keep in mind that this is the only time you'll ever have to do this.

Please Note: Depending on when you check your list, these generic topics may appear in your "Current Topics" instead of under "Pending Topics."

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