Discussion Board Overview

Discussion Board Overview
IT Services
Blackboard 8
Quick Start Guide – Discussion Board
Discussion Board Overview
The Discussion Board is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about course materials and
interactions. The Discussion Board is made up of Forums that may appear anywhere in the
Course but are also all centrally located in the Discussion Board tool.
Adding Forums
Follow these steps to add a forum page:
1. Open a Course.
2. Click Discussion Board. The Discussion Board page appears.
3. Click Add Forum. The Add Forum page appears.
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IT Services
Blackboard 8
Quick Start Guide – Discussion Board
Threads
The initial post and the entire series of replies to that post within a Discussion Board Forum are
called Threads. The Forum Manager can change the status of a thread to one of the following:
•
•
•
•
•
Published: A published thread is available to users.
Locked: Users may read the thread but not make any additions or modifications.
Locking a thread allows Grades to be assigned without users updating or changing posts.
Unlocked: Unlocking a thread allows users to modify and add to the thread.
Hidden: Hidden messages cannot be viewed by users, but can be managed by Forum
Moderators. Use this status to hide outdated threads and make relevant content easier
to find.
Unavailable: Unavailable threads are only visible to forum managers. Even then,
Forum managers must choose to view these threads. Making threads unavailable means
users can no longer view the thread.
Forum View
The Forum view lists the threads in the Forum and includes several options for displaying and
managing threads. The Forum can be viewed in one of two contexts: Tree View or List View.
This choice remains in effect until the user changes it; it can be changed at any time. These
choices are available above the Action Bar.
Tree View
The Tree View presents the thread starter messages and their child messages. The child
messages can be expanded and collapsed by using the plus/minus icon next to each message.
Unread threads and posts are displayed in bold type; if a thread starter message has unread
children, then the thread starter message is displayed in bold if its children are collapsed.
List View
The List View presents the list of threads in a tabular format. The threads can be sorted by
clicking the carat at the top of each column.
Thread View
Clicking on a thread in a Forum brings up the Thread Detail. The thread view is divided into
three parts. Post viewing and management functions appear at the top of the page. The middle
of the page displays a list of posts, with replies nested underneath the thread starter message.
The bottom of the page displays the current post. Unread posts are displayed in bold type.
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Blackboard 8
Quick Start Guide – Discussion Board
Changes in Blackboard 8

Users can request email notifications for new discussion board posts using the
“Subscribe” feature.
Click Subscribe/Unsubscribe to receive an email alert when a post is updated or a user posts a
reply. Click again to stop receiving email alerts.

Discussion posts can be saved as drafts before publishing for public view.
Start a Thread
Follow these steps to start a thread.
1. Open a Discussion Board Forum.
2. Click Add Thread in the action bar. The Add Thread page appears.
3. Enter a Subject and a Message. It is also possible to attach files to the post.
4. Click Save to store a draft of the post or click Submit to create the thread.

Improved search capability
A search function appears as a magnifying glass icon at the top of the page throughout the
Discussion Board. Click this icon to show or hide the search fields, thus conserving screen space
in the Discussion Board.

Optional peer-review rating system for student discussion board posts.
Each Student may start a thread and include their work in the initial post. Other Students then
review the work, assign a rating to the initial post, and include comments in a response. As
users respond, the feedback expands as users reinforce and build on points made by other
Students.
Users can respond to a post using a 5-star rating system. To enable this feature, select Allow
members to rate posts when creating the Forum.
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Blackboard 8
Quick Start Guide – Discussion Board
Open a thread and view the posts. Each post has an Overall Rating field with five stars. The
stars show the overall rating that the post has received from users. Click on the Rate this Post
drop down list and select a rating from 0 to 5 stars. Your rating is now included in the Overall
Rating and your individual rating appears in the Rate this Post field. A user may not rate the
same post more than once.

New options for grading discussion board posts.
The Instructor has the option to grade Students at the Forum level or at the thread level. In this
way the Instructor can accurately compare Student participation to the expectations set forth.
Grading options are enabled when the Forum is created or by modifying the Forum. Click
Modify on the Discussion Board for a Forum to change its settings. Once Grading has been
enabled, a Grade Center Item is created and all the advanced management features that can be
applied to the item should be managed from the Grade Center.
The Grade settings appear at the bottom of the Add Forum Page and the Modify Forum page.
Select Grade Forum and enter a point value to evaluate participants on performance
throughout the Forum. Select Grade Threads to evaluate participants on performance in each
thread. When the Grade Threads option is used, a Points Possible option appears each time a
thread is started. Keep in mind that users cannot create new threads if Grade Threads is
selected for the Forum.

Ability to control when discussion forums are made available.
Options include whether to make the Forum available or not; choose date and time restrictions;
select a date using a calendar GUI.
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