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The discussion board is a forum style area where you can create class discussions with your students, and an asynchronous tool where students can come and go as they please, commenting on or starting new threads.

Blackboard discussions are threaded; this means messages are organized in such a way that participants can follow the flow and chronology of the postings. A student can participate in the discussion and respond to any part of the thread, (There is a setting that will not allow a student to see anything in the forum unless they have already created a thread, if you choose.) and their response will be inserted into the thread outline in the appropriate location in the flow. Threaded discussions are an effective teaching strategy for facilitating student interaction, critical thinking, and promoting learning communities in your online course. The Discussion Board tool in Blackboard contains such features as grading, flagging posts, moderating, receiving email alerts, and conducting peer review.

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Discussion Board Structure

Threaded discussions are organized by:


A forum is made up of threads. The instructor must create the forum or topic before students can see it. Discussion forums usually represent essential questions which promote critical thinking. The forum's description can provide students with guidelines for the discussion and describe the topic. 
Students will no longer see the description line once they enter the forum so if the discussion topic includes several questions you may want to present the essential questions in a thread.


Threads are typically questions posted by the instructor, or they can be the student's response to the forum topic or a new topic or question raised by the student.


Discussion participants use the Reply button to respond to the question in a thread and to respond to each other's replies.

Class Discussion Board and Group Discussion Boards

Discussion Forums can appear throughout a course in any Content Area the instructor chooses. Each group can also have a private Discussion Board with Forums available only to members of that group. The Posts button in the Global Navigation Menu serves as a directory of all class forums. Students or Instructors can use the Posts page to access any forum of which they are a member.

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The instructor can also access the Discussion Board main page from the Control Panel to view a directory of all forums within the course (class discussion forums as well as group discussion boards).

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Discussion Board Tools

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The Create Thread button opens a new screen where the instructor or students may post a new thread.


The Delete button removes the selected threads.


The Collect button opens a new window where you can view all selected postings in full text.


The Thread Actions list includes options for marking posts as read, setting flags, locking posts, and more. (See below)


The Search button allows you to search forums by keywords. Searches can be narrowed by Current Forums and Discussion Board, All Discussion Boards, and Date restrictions.


The List View/Tree View buttons allow you to switch between the two thread viewing options. Note that some items in the discussion board are only available in tree view.


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