KU's Learning Management System

Discussion Boards

The Discussion Board is an area where instructor and student comments are organized into an asynchronous conversation. Participants can post and reply to others' posts. Some faculty members provide discussion boards for student-driven help sessions, content generation and group collaboration. Students who are reluctant to speak in the classroom have been known to participate more in this setting.

Discussion boards can approximate the Socratic Method, allowing discovery through discussion. Although designed for text-based interaction, various media (image, video) and attached files can also be shared.

Conversations are organized within a topic forum as threads that contain a main posting and all corresponding replies. Discussion boards can be restricted to a particular date range or group of students. Evaluation tools in Blackboard allow you to monitor student participation. If desired, grades can be entered in the Grade Center.

For more information about Discussion Boards, select from the following:


Video - How to Create Discussion Board Forums (Blackboard)


Add a Forum

You can initiate online, asynchronous discussions after you establish a forum in your course. Only an instructor can set up a forum.

  1. Click Course Tools in the Control Panel.
  2. Ensure the Edit Mode is On, found at the top-right of your course window.
  3. Click Discussion Board under Course Tools in Control Panel.
  4. Click the Course ID. (For example: 4162-25647)
  5. Click Create Forum button.
  6. Type the name of forum.
  7. Type a brief description about the forum or instruction for your students in the text box.
  8. Select options for Forum Availability if necessary.
    • Available – If yes, students can access it.
    • Date and Time Restrictions – You can create the time frame of availability.
  9. Select desired forum settings:
    • Viewing Threads – Select Standard View or require students to create a post before they can view others' posts.
    • Grade – You can choose to grade individual threads or an entire forum. 
    • Subscribe – Email will be sent out when a new forum or post is made.
    • Create and Edit
      • Allow Anonymous Posts – This allows messages to be posted without the author’s name.
      • Allow Author to Delete Own Posts – In most cases, this is not recommended.
      • Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts – In most cases, this is not recommended.
      • Allow Members to Create New Threads – This is recommended.
      • Allow File Attachments – Discussion boards are one place that students can upload and share a file.
      • Allow Users to Reply with Quote – This copies previous author’s thread into the reply.
      • Force Moderation of Posts – When selected student postings must be approved by the instructor before appearing on the discussion board.
    • Allow Post Tagging – This is not recommended as it slows discussion board page loading.
    • Allow Members to Rate Posts – This allows peer review on a five star scale.
  10. Click Submit.

Add a Thread

Within forums, threads can be created for specific points of discussion such as topics, subjects, questions, etc.

  1. Click Course Tools in the Control Panel.
  2. Ensure the Edit Mode is On, found at the top-right of your course window.
  3. Click Discussion Board under Course Tools in Control Panel.
  4. Click the Course ID. (For example: 4162-25647)
  5. Click the title of the forum in which you want to post.
  6. Click Create Thread.
  7. Type Subject.
  8. Type your comment in the message box.
  9. To attach a file, click Browse My Computer.
  10. Click Submit or Save. If you click Save, the thread will be saved but not posted on the discussion board.

The instructor or students can reply to a thread by clicking the Reply button, entering their comments, and clicking Submit.


Grading

How to Enable Discussion Grading

When you create or edit a forum, you can enable grading options. After you enable grading, a Grade Center column is created automatically.

The grade settings appear in the Forum Settings section of the Create Forum page and the Edit Forum page.

  • Select Grade Discussion Forum and type a point value to evaluate participants on performance throughout a forum.
  • Select Grade Threads to evaluate participants on performance in each thread.
  • Optionally, select the check box for Show participants in "needs grading" status... and select the number of posts required. Applying this setting will show the needs grading icon—the exclamation mark—in the Grade Center after each user makes the specified number of posts. Also, the posts are placed in the queue on the Needs Grading page.  

    If you choose three from the drop-down list and a user submits only two posts, the in progress icon appears in the Grade Center cell and the discussion board until the specified number of posts is met.

    If you select a grading option and do NOT select the "Show participants in..." check box, the needs grading icon does not appear in the Grade Center and posts do not appear on the Needs Grading page. In the Grade Center column, users' attempts will appear with the in progress icon when they post.
  • Optionally, associate a rubric by pointing to Add Rubric. This option appears in the Forum Settings section when Grade Forum is selected, and in the Grading section of the Create Thread page when Grade Threads is selected.

Enable Thread Grading Before or After Thread Creation

If you chose to grade threads when you created a forum, you decide on a thread-by-thread basis whether to grade a new thread.

If you select the Grade Threads option, users cannot create new threads.

  1. On the Create Thread page, select the Grade Thread check box and type the Points possible. You can determine when posts go into needs grading status by selecting the check box for Show participants in needs grading status and selecting the number of posts from the drop-down list.
  2. Click Submit.
  3. In the forum, the Grade Thread function appears in the thread's Grade column.

You can also enable thread grading directly from the thread list in a forum.

  1. Click the Grade function in a thread's Grade column.
  2. Type the Points possible.
  3. Click Submit. The Grade Thread function appears in a thread's Grade column.

How to Grade Forum Participation

You can assign discussion grades to evaluate participants on performance throughout a forum. When you create or edit a forum, you can enable forum grading options and a Grade Center column is created automatically.

You can create rubrics and refer to them while grading forums, but you must create and associate the rubrics in advance.

  1. Access the discussion forum where you enabled forum grading and click Grade Discussion Forum on the action bar.
  2. On the Grade Discussion Forum Users page, click Grade in a user's row with a number in the Posts column.
  3. On the Grade Discussion Forum page, a collection of the student's posts made to the graded forum appears. Since you can assign a forum grade based on multiple threads, all messages posted by a student are included for review. On the action bar, click Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. To select which posts appear and in which order, you can filter and sort posts using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order drop-down lists on the action bar.

The grading sidebar contains:

  • Forum Statistics: Click to access the drop-down area that includes information about a user's posts, such as Total Posts, Date of Last Post, Average Post Length, and Average Post Position.
  • Click the down-pointing arrow next to the current user's name to view a list and select a user with posts ready to grade. The selected user's posts appear in the content frame. Use the left- and right-pointing arrows to navigate to the previous or next student.
  • Area to add grade, feedback, and private notes for yourself.
  1. In the content frame, evaluate the currently selected user's posts. In the grading sidebar, type a grade. If you associated a rubric for this forum, expand and complete the rubric. To edit an existing grade, click in the Grade box and change the grade.
  2. Optionally, type Feedback for the user. In the Add Notes section, make notes that appear only to you (instructor). You can use the spell check function in the bottom of each text box. The icon for Click to open full content editor gives you access to all the content editor functions for formatting text and adding files, images, web links, multimedia and mashups to your feedback or notes.
  3. Click Submit to add the grade, feedback, and grading notes to the Grade Center. The grade appears on the Grade Discussion Forum Users page.

How to Access Threads for Grading

You can assign discussion grades to evaluate participants on performance in each thread. When you create or edit a forum, you can enable thread grading options and a Grade Center column is created automatically.

Students cannot create new threads in a forum where threads are graded.

You can create rubrics and refer to them while grading threads, but you must create and associate the rubrics in advance.

After accessing the user's threads to grade, follow the steps outlined in the previous section for inline forum grading.

  1. Access the discussion forum containing a thread you want to grade.
  2. On the thread listing page, in List View, click Grade Thread in the thread's row.
  3. On the Grade Discussion Thread Users page, click Grade in a user's row with a number in the Posts column.
  4. On the Grade Discussion Thread page, a collection of the student's posts made to the graded thread appears. Since you can assign a thread grade based on multiple messages, all messages posted by a student are included for review. On the action bar, click Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. To select which posts appear and in which order, you can filter and sort posts using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order drop-down lists on the action bar.
  5. Provide a grade, feedback, and grading notes. After clicking Submit, the information is added to the Grade Center. The grade appears on the Grade Discussion Thread Users page.

How to Email Users While Grading Discussions

While assigning grades, you can use the email tool in the discussion board to quickly contact students. For example, send a student a question prior to assigning a grade or send feedback after assigning a grade.

  1. Navigate to a forum or thread to assign a grade.
  2. On the Grade Discussion Thread Users page -OR- the Grade Discussion Forum Users page, select one or multiple users' check boxes, or select the check box in the header row to select all the users you want to email.
  3. On the action bar, click Email.
  4. On the Email Forum User page, edit the Subject, if needed.
  5. Type a question or feedback in the Message box.
  6. Click Submit.

How to Disable Discussion Grading

Even if grades exist, you can disable grading for graded forums and threads.

  1. Access the discussion board and access a forum's contextual menu.
  2. Select Edit.
  3. On the Edit Forum page, in the Forum Settings section, change the grading option to No Grading in Forum.
  4. Click Submit. If you already assigned grades for a forum or its threads, a warning message appears stating that disabling grading will delete all existing grades. This action is final.
  5. Click OK to continue or click Cancel to preserve the Grade Center items.

Additional Resources from Blackboard:

For more information about Discussion Boards, visit Blackboard's Discussion Board »


Source: Blackboard Help »


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