Blackboard's Discussion Boards are available in all courses and are accessible by all students. Blackboard's Discussion Board allows students to discuss and share ideas and information without requiring all participants to be online at the same time. Discussion Board conversations are logged and organized with conversations grouped into threads that contain a main posting heading and all related replies. Discussion Boards may be graded / ungraded.

In order for students to post threads (messages) to the Discussion Board, you must first create a forum on a specific topic

Watch "Discussion Boards" video

How Do I Create a Forum?

Login to your Blackboard course and select Discussion Board from left-hand side menu tab (can also access from the expanded Control Panel under Course Tools, Discussion Board)

Click “Create Forum” button near the top left-hand side

  • Forum Information: Type in a Name (required) for the forum and type in any instructions or text in Description
  • Forum Availability: Choose options for “Available” or “Date Time restrictions” 
  • Forum Settings: (review default settings). 
    • NEW OPTION in Viewing Threads/Replies "Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum" selecting this option requires students to create threads in order to view other threads in the forum. They cannot delete or edit their own posts, and cannot post anonymously (these options will be set for you automatically).

PLEASE NOTE: If you use this option make sure that you provide instructions/information in the description field for the students since they will not be able to see any threads until they post!

When student accesses the forum they will receive the message "This is a 'post-first' discussion forum. There are currently 0 threads in this forum. Create a thread to help start the conversation!". See ehelp for students page:

    • Grade: Select the option to either grade or not to grade the Discussion Board Forum, if grading is selected, the option to "Show participants in "Needs Grading" status after x number of posts appears. Type in a number "after every # Posts"
    • Due Date: (NEW)  If students are to respond to forum on or before a certain date, selecting the Due Date will add this date to the course calendar as a reminder.
    • Associated Rubrics: Ability to Add (grading) Rubric will also become available if grading option selected ("Using Rubrics")
    • Subscribe: allowing users (instructor/students) to subscribe to forum(s) will send an email when a new post is submitted (see "Using the Subscribe Option" below)
    • Create and Edit: additional options can be selected. You may want to allow students to "delete only posts with no replies" and/or "edit own published posts"
    • Once complete, select Submit

How do I create an Initial Thread?

Now that you have created the forum and you have not selected the option of "first post", you can create initial thread to start the discussion and have students “Reply” to the thread with their posts.

  • Select Discussion Board forum name created above
  • Click the “Create Thread” button near the top left-hand side
  • Type a name in the Subject box and thread (question) text in Message box
  • Click Submit


Using the Subscribe Option

When creating a Discussion Board forum, selecting the option to allow "subscriptions" will allow users to receive email notifications whenever new activity is posted to the forum (or thread). Select the option to either "Include body of post in email" or just to include a link to the post.

If you have selected the option to allow subscriptions, you and your students can select Subscribe to selected forums/threads. An email will be sent (to your email listed in Blackboard) when a new reply is posted. To subscribe:

  • Select the forum by clicking the hyperlink
  • Click Subscribe You can unsubscribe at any time but click the option to Unsubscribe.

When a new reply is posted by other participants, you will receive an email

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