Knowledgebase: Blackboard
BLACKBOARD - Overview of the Discussion Board
Posted by Jason Morosky on 20 January 2011 02:55 PM


Blackboard 9.1


This article is to explain the functionality and appearance of the Discussion Board found within Blackboard.


Discussion Boards

Users will not likely have much interaction at the Discussion Board level. This level includes one discussion board created by default for the course, but may contain more should the instructor/creator of the course desire to add more.

Access to the Discussion Board is typically found on the Course Menu sidebar menu, typically found on the left side of the screen when in a Blackboard course. Additionally, it can be found under the Tools menu.

If a Group Discussion Board is available for a particular group, a link will be on the group page for that group. Users accessing a Discussion Board with these methods will be brought directly to a list of forums, while instructors accessing the Discussion Board from the Blackboard Control Panel must first enter a Discussion Board from all that are available for the course. 



Forums are created by instructors and can be managed by users that have been granted appropriate permissions by an instructor. The Forum page demonstrates the general layout used for the majority of discussion board pages. The action bar shows actions that can be performed at a particular organizational level; the display options provide control over which items are displayed. Actions include adding a new forum, adding or removing a thread, collecting and flagging posts, and others. Not all actions will be available to all users. A search feature is available from the display options area for most discussion board levels and can be used to find posts anywhere in the course, not just within the current area. 



Users will likely become most familiar with the Thread and Post levels. Threads contain all posts related to a particular topic. Actions on threads will be available on the action bar according to the forum settings. Threads can have a number of statuses to be aware of, including published, hidden, and unavailable. Thread status is changed from the action bar. By default, only threads of a published status will be displayed. To display threads in another status, change the “Display” setting in the display options area. 

Blackboard includes the ability to save new threads and posts as a draft, which allows for items to be saved to Blackboard but not published to other users. Saved drafts can then be modified later before they are submitted. If a thread is saved as a draft, its status will be “Draft”. In order to view draft threads, select “Show all” from the display options area. This is the only way that threads in “Draft” status become visible. These threads are only available to the original author until they are submitted. 



Posts are viewed on the Thread Detail page. This page is arranged with the action bar and display options at the top of the page, a message list in the middle, and the contents of the currently selected post displayed at the bottom. The page opens with the main post selected and displayed. Replies can be selected from the message list and displayed in the bottom frame. 

Replies that have been saved as a draft are only visible to the original author. They will appear in the message list like any other post, but with “(draft)” after their title. To finish work to a draft reply, select it to display it in the current post area and click “Modify”. Finish updating the post and click “Submit” to publish the post and make it visible to other users. 


A Note About Editing Posts 

It is not a good idea to submit lengthy posts to the Discussion Board. If there is a long pause in communication with Blackboard, the server may think that you have logged out and ask you to log back in when you try to submit your work.  Your connection could also be interrupted when you submit the post.  Either way, you will probably loose your work, and time.

If you find yourself taking a long time to compose your post, it might be better to work in an offline word processing application such as Microsoft Word, or even Notepad, and to copy/paste the work into the discussion board after you have saved your work locally.  Then you could even attach your work file to a post providing a brief summary or introduction.  The idea is that you will always have your work backed up and saved on your machine in case something should happen to it online. 


Update History

5/29/2015 - Updated formatting & information

1/20/2011 - Created

Help Desk Software by Kayako Fusion