Discussion Boards

This document describes how instructors and teachers' assistants can use the Discussion Boards in Blackboard to host an online forum for their classes.

Structure: Forums > Threads > Posts

Each class on Blackboard has its own Discussion Board. Within the class discussion board, an instuctor creates Forums. These are broad areas of discussion (Examples: "Homework Discussion", "General Questions"). Each Forum can contain Threads. These are like the subject line in an email. Each Thread has one or more Posts, which are the actual messages posted on the discussion board.

Usually, an instructor or TA creates some structure by making at least one Forum and starting a couple topics for students to respond to.

To create a Forum, go to discussion board through the course menu or through the Control Panel. Click on the +Forum button.

db add forum

On the next screen, enter a name and a description:

db add forum 1

That's all you need to do. You can click Submit, and be done. Or you can choose some options:

db add forum 2

You may choose to allow anonymous posts for sensitive topics, or to encourage more open dialog. On the other hand, you lose some accountability.

If you allow authors to remove or modify may be a convenient way for students to fix typos or retract things they write, however it may lead to confusion if someone responds to something that is later removed. You can force moderation of posts, which means someone (like an instructor or T.A.) must approve the post before it appears. For more detail on these settings, see SPU's Description of Forum Settings.

Reading Posts

To read posts, click on each post to read individually, or you can "collect" a bunch of posts to dispaly them all on the same screen. Start by clicking the boxes next to the threads/posts you want to read:

db check thread

Then click the Collect button:

db click collect

Graded Forums

For classes where participation in the discussion board is required, an instructor may choose to designate a Forum or a Thread as "Graded". This places a "Grade" button in the Forum. This will display a list of students, with another "Grade" button, which will show all the posts written by that student, and allow you to enter a grade.

For more detail and pictures of what this looks like, see Dartmouth's page on Discussion Boards.