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Blackboard: The Discussion Board

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Overview

The Discussion Board in your Blackboard course is where you interact with students, and where students interact with eachother. To enter your Discussion Board, locate and click on the Discussion Board menu item:

Inside the Discussion Board are Forums and columns of information pertaining to each forum:

Here is a video on the specific ways the Discussion Board can be utilized:

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Forums

Forums are the top level of facilitation and maintenance for an instructor in a Blackboard Discussion Board. Inside of forums are threads, and inside of threads are replies. Here is a video on forums and how they work:

To Create a New Forum:

1) Click on the Create Forum button in the upper-left part of the page:

2) Enter Name and Description:

3) Choose Availability options (Note that Available must be set at Yes for students to see the forum):

4) Choose forum Settings. Note that there is nothing in this area you have to change to have your Discussion Board work properly. There are some settings, however, that you may wish to utilize—including grading and subscriptions. To learn more about those: click on the "More Help" link at the top of the Create Forum page, read more about Settings here, or contact Online Learning.

5) Submit. Your new forum, by default, is then placed at the very bottom of your forum list. Depending on how many forums you have in your Discussion Board, you may need to navigate to the last page of forums to access the new forum.

To Change the Order of Your Forums:

1) Click on the Reorder icon in the upper-right part of the Discussion Board page:

2) Click on the forum you want to move and then use the two arrow buttons to move it up or down in the forum order; Submit:

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Threads

Threads are the level of the Discussion Board where students participate, with either their own threads or replies to others' threads. Of course, instructors can create and participate in threads, too. Here's how:

1) Inside a forum, click on the Create Thread button:

2) Enter a Subject, a Message (try this for tips on using the Text Editor), and Submit:

3) To reply to a thread, click on the thread title:

4) Click on the Reply button, enter message, and submit:

And to you can reply to other replies in a thread, too—just click on the reply button for each reply.

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Preparation and Maintenance

Deleting Forums and Threads

1)  Identify the forum you want to remove and click in the check box next to the forum name:

2) Click on the Delete button, which is located on either the top or bottom of the list of forums:

When you delete a forum, all threads contained in the forum will also be deleted. To delete individual threads within a forum:

1) Go into the forum, identify the thread(s) you want to remove, and click in the check box for that thread:

2) Click on the Delete button, which is located on either the top or bottom of the list of threads:

Blog-Style and Future Forums Unavailable

Online Learning recommends that you have each current forum appear at the top of your Discussion Board for students to use, with older forums listed below from newest at top to oldest at bottom—this is sometimes referred to as blog-style. You can do that manually with each forum you create, or you can set your forums ahead of time at the outset of a semester. Here is the basic process for that.

1) This is how a Discussion Board with all forums open, ordered "low to high" numerically, appears to students—regardless of what week of the course it is:

2) Let's modify this Discussion Board to blog-style and future forums unavailable. First, we'll reorder the forums with the "two arrow" tool located in the upper-left corner of the Forums view:

 

After reorder:

3) Set each of the future weeks to open at a designated date. Click on the chevron symbol next to the forum name and select edit. Inside the Edit interface, go to the Forum Availability section and input the date on which the forum will become available to students:

4) After setting the forum for each week, here's how the Discussion Board appears for the instructor:

And for students entering the Discussion Board during Week 1:

And for students during Week 3 (after May 24, 2018):

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Subscribe to Discussion Board

If you'd like to follow any of your Discussion Board forums outside of Blackboard and be alerted of new student posts, you can use the subscribe tool.

1) Identify the forum you'd like to follow and receive alerts for; select the Edit option from the chevron dropdown:

2) In the Subscribe section under Forum Settings, make sure Allow members to subscribe to forum and Include body of post in the email are checked:

3) With those settings, both you and your students can subscribe to the forum. To actually subscribe, enter the forum and click on the Subscribe button:

(To unsubscribe, you would just click on that same button again.)

You will now receive an email of each new thread that is posted in the forum. Students will have this same ability and functionality. Here's a video walking through the Subscribe process:

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Discussion Board Grading

If students' Discussion Board posts are to be graded, the forum they're part of must be correctly set.

1) In the Discussion Board, identify the forum to be graded, click on the chevron symbol, and select the Edit option:

2) In the Forum Settings section, select Grade Discussion Forum, input your points possible, and check the box for Show participants in "needs grading" status. Keep the number of posts set at 1 (read here if you're curious about setting that at a different number):

You may also choose a due date and a rubric here.

3) Submit.

Now, any student activity in the forum will be captured for grading. Also, a grade column has automatically been created in the Grade Center for this forum. Here is the process to grade your forums from the Discussion Board.

1) Enter the forum by clicking on the forum name:

2) Inside the forum, click on the Grade Discussion Forum button:

3) All of your enrolled students for the course appear, along with their post count for the forum. To grade each one, click on the Grade button on the far right:

4) Inside the grading interface, you are shown all of that student's activity for the forum. Over on the right is where you enter the grade and any feedback you want to provide. You can also use either of the directional arrows next to the student name to move to the next or previous student to grade:

Upon submission of the grade, the course Grade Center is automatically updated.

See this article for tips on how to grade Discussion Board posts directly from your Grade Center or Needs Grading areas.

Additional Resources

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