How do I add a discussion board to my Blackboard module? (Staff)

Blackboard discussion boards provide opportunities for communication in modules that can be both staff-to-student and student-to-student. The communications take the form of threaded discussions, allowing students to respond to questions and comments and follow the development of an idea.

Discussion boards are made up of Forums. Forums are a way of organising the discussion, or a group of related topics called threads. Individual discussion board forums can be linked to from anywhere in a course.

Watch this video or more ideas and information on how to use Discussion boards.

Setting up a Forum

Under Control Panel, select Course Tools and Discussion Board.

You will then see a list of all the forum areas available in the course, including those available to all students and those available to groups.

Screenshot of a blackboard discussion board, showing details of each discussion board including quantity of forums, quantity of participants, and quantity of posts.

All general discussion boards are found under the course code link, and group discussion boards are available under the group links.

These links are available even when a forum has not yet been created.

To create a forum for the whole course:

  • Click on the course code.
  • Click on Create Forum button.

Screenshot of the 'Create Forum' button.

  • Add a title and description for the forum.
  • Underneath this are the settings for the forum - each forum can be set up differently. Click once in the box next to the relevant option to enable it:
    • Grade
      • No Marking in forum
      • Grade Discussion Forum: Points possible - allows grading of participation for entire forum, enter total points.
      • Grade threads - allows grading of participation based on threads.
    • Subscribe
      • Do not allow subscriptions - participants, including yourself, will always need to navigate back to the discussion board in Blackboard to check for any new discussions or comments.
      • Allow members to subscribe to threads - allows participants, including yourself, to receive emails when a new message is posted. This can help if you or your students find it hard to remember to log into a Blackboard discussion.
      • Allow members to subscribe to forum - allows participants, including yourself, to receive emails when a new message is posted in any of the current threads taking place within that forum.
    • Create and Edit
      • Allow anonymous posts - allows students to post without their names appearing on the messages.
      • Allow author to delete own posts - allows students to delete their own messages after posting. This can be further modified to allow removal of any post, or only posts without replies.
      • Allow author to edit own published posts - allows students to alter their own messages after posting.
      • Allow members to create new threads - allows students to create their own threads within the forum. If you do not allow members to create new threads, then you must post at least one thread before students will be able to post.
      • Allow file attachments - allows files to be attached to discussion board postings.
      • Allow users to reply with quote - enabled by default. When users click Quote, the message to which they are replying is included in the post.
      • Force moderation of posts - requires all messages to be reviewed by a Moderator before they are published to the Forum.
    • Additional Options
      • Allow Post tagging - tagging is a way to add metadata to posts to make them easier to retrieve in searches
      • Allow members to rate posts - allows participants to rate posts on a five-star scale. Force moderation of posts - allows you to approve messages before they can be read by other participants.
  • Click Submit and the forum will be added.
  • To change these settings after the forum has been set up:
    • go to the list of forums for the discussion board or group.
    • click on the arrow next to the forum name.
    • select Edit.

Setting up a thread

A thread needs to be posted to a forum to make it live. A thread is usually a question or a comment that students can respond to and discuss.

Note: Unless you have allowed members to create new threads, you have to start a thread before students are able to post to it.

To post a new thread:

  • Click on the title of the new forum.
  • Click Create Thread.

Screenshot of the 'Create Thread' button.

  • Type in the subject line and message.
  • Click on Submit.
  • The new message will appear in the forum.

Locking threads

A discussion board forum can be locked to prevent students from adding posts. This ensures that a discussion board remains visible to students.

To lock or unlock a thread:

  • Under Control Panel, click on Course Tools and select Discussion Boards.
  • Click on the desired forum.
  • Click Thread Actions at the bottom of the forum.
  • Select Lock, or Unlock, from the menu.
  • It is also possible to make a thread unavailable to students through this menu.

Screenshot of the 'Thread Actions' drop-down box. Near the bottom of the options, the options 'Lock' and 'Unlock' are circled.

For further information see:

Contact for this page:
Information Services, Aberystwyth University, Hugh Owen Library, Penglais, Aberystwyth, SY23 3DZ
Tel: 01970 62 2400 Email: is@aber.ac.uk