Blackboard Discussion Boards

Blackboard’s Discussion Boards are a great place to build community among your students and to mimic face-to-face classroom discussion in hybrid or online courses. The asynchronous nature of online discussions allows students to reflect on their responses before posting them and can help more reserved students feel comfortable participating.

A Forum is a site where instructors and students can hold a message-board type discussion about any topic of the Instructor’s choosing. Forums frequently coincide with a particular week, topic, or assignment. Forums can be graded based on each student’s total contribution on the forum. Therefore, multiple Forums would allow for multiple grades. Forums can be added by the Instructor to the Discussion Board in the Course Menu; they can be open to all users in the course or only to members of a group in a course. You can also find the Discussion Board in the Course Tools section of the Control Panel.

Remember to encourage your students to treat each other as though they were face-to-face in the classroom and to write with the level of formality you expect in an academic setting.

The "forum" is the discussion topic. Subsequent "threads" are student responses, and can also hold student replies.

 

To Create a Forum in the Discussion Board:

 

First, make sure you are in the course you would like to work in and that you have the edit mode set to ON.

  1. Go to Discussions in the Course Menu. If you do not have that link in your course, go to Tools and select Discussion Board.
  2. On the Discussion Board page, select Create Forum, and when the Create Forum page pop up, you can enter the Forum Name, Description, Forum Availability, Forum Settings, Subscribe, and Grade options to fit your needs.
  3. Select Submit to finish.

 

The steps to creating a discussion board are to first choose the Discussions link in the Course Menu, and then to choose the Create Forum link on the Discussion Board menu bar.

 

To Edit a Forum:

 

First, make sure you are in the course you would like to work in and that you have the edit mode set to ON.

  1. Go to Discussions in the Course Menu. If you do not have that link in your course, go to Tools and select Discussion Board.
  2. On the Discussion Board page, click on the dropdown menu next to the Forum you would like to modify and select Edit. Here you can change the Forum Information, Title, Description, Forum Settings, Subscribe, and Grade options to fit your needs.
  3. Select Submit to finish.

From the Discusssion Board page, choose the Options menu next to the link for the forum you want to edit. Then, choose the Edit link.

Create a Thread

 

A Thread is an initial post which can contain a series of replies to that post. Students’ own initial posts are frequently written as new Threads. Therefore, a Forum generally contains multiple Threads of conversation. It is good practice for the instructor to create an initial Thread so that students are not greeted with a blank screen upon entering the Forum and to shape the conversation.

 

To create an initial thread in a Forum, first make sure you are in the course you would like to work in and that you have the edit mode set to ON.

  1. Go to Discussions in the Course Menu. If you do not have that link in your course, go to Tools and select Discussion Board.
  2. When the Discussion Board page pops up, select the Forum to which you would like to contribute.
  3. Next, select Create Thread and the Create Thread window will pop up.
  4. Enter the Subject of the thread (just like the subject of an email) and the Message of the thread (like the body of an email).
  5. Select Submit to finish.

 

In the Forum you want to create a thread in, choose the Create Thread link from the Menu Bar.

 

For more ideas and for Discussion Board best practices, you can peruse Edutopia’s “Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation”, or make an appointment with Online Learning Services.