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The Discussion Board

The Discussion Board
Discussion Board

Depending on how the course has been set up, access the Discussion Board from either the "Course Menu" or a "Content Area".

Each Discussion Board contains one or more forums. A forum is an area where a topic or a group of related topics are discussed. Within each forum, there can be multiple threads.

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In addition, special Discussion Boards can be set up for smaller groups of students by using the "Groups" tool. Discussion Boards are available only to users who are members of the Group. If a Group Discussion Board has been set up, access it from the "Groups" link in the "Course Menu" or "Control Panel".

The Discussion Board is commonly accessed from the Course Menu, although an instructor may provide a link to it elsewhere.

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A. The Instructor may rename the link.

The main Discussion Board page displays a list of available forums. For each forum, the page displays the total number of posts, the number of unread posts, and the number of users who have participated in the forum.

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A. Click the forum title to view the messages. Forums containing unread posts appear in bold.

B. View data on the number of posts and participants.

C. The Unread Posts column provides one-click access to the forum's unread messages.

Within a Forum

Within a forum, a list of threads is displayed. The following is included for each thread:

  • Date: when the tread was created.
  • Author: the person who created the thread.
  • Status: indicates whether the thread is published, hidden, or a draft
  • Unread Posts: the number of posts not yet accessed.
  • Total Posts: includes both read and unread posts.
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A. Use the breadcrumbs to navigate to a previous page.

B. Check box allows for individual thread selection. Select the box in the header row to select all threads.

C. Click the thread title to read the posts.

D. Search field hidden by default to save screen space.

E. View threads in either List View or Tree View.

F. Edit paging allows you to enter the number of items to view per pages.

List View and Tree View

After clicking a forum title, all of it's threads are displayed. The page can be viewed in either "List View" or "Tree View". The choice remains in effect until the student changes it; it be changed at any time.

In List View, threads are presented in table format. Threads containing any unread posts are displayed in bold type.

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A. Threads can be sorted by clicking the carat at the top of each column. If the carat is not visible, click the column name to access the carat.

Using the "Thread Actions" drop-down list, students can flag important posts and delete the flags.

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A. Use the "Message Actions" menu to flag a selected post or mark it read or unread.

B. The "Collect" feature is used to gather posts onto one page where they can be sorted, filtered, or printed.

C. Use "Expand All" to see posts included in all threads.

Changing the Displayed Threads

The instructor sets the thread status (published, hidden, or draft), but students choose which type of threads to display. By default, published threads are displayed.

  1. Access the "Forum".
  2. Select "List View".
  3. On the Action Bar, click "Display" to access the thread status options.
  4. From the list, select the type of threads to view in the forum.

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Thread Status:

  • Published - A post with published status can be read and replied to by other users.
  • Locked Thread - Users may read the thread, but no longer edit or add posts. Locking a thread allows grades to be assigned without posts being changed or updated. Unlocking a thread changes its status to published, allowing users to edit and add to the thread again.
  • Draft Thread - A draft thread is saved to Blackboard by the author for future editing, but is not submitted for publication. It becomes available to other users when it is published.
  • Hidden Thread - A thread that is locked and not visible by default. Students may choose to display hidden threads in List View, but may not reply to postings.
Within a Thread

When a user clicks a thread, the "Thread Detail" page appears. The page is divided into three parts:

Section 1: The "Action Bar" contains functions that allow users to select, flag, mark, or collect posts.

Section 2: The "Message List" contains all the posts in the thread, beginning with the initial post. The selected post is highlighted.

Section 3: The "Current Post" contains the text of the selected post.

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A. Subscribe or Unsubscribe: when subscribed to a thread, the user receives an email alert when a post is updated or a reply is posted. The instructor must enable this function when creating the forum.

B. Previous Thread or Next Thread arrows for navigating between threads in the forum.

C. Arrange View functions:

  • Swap Up or Down: moves the current message up or down in the display order.
  • Hide or Restore: collapses or displays the threads.
  • Maximize or Minimize: displays the entire list of messages, or just the top few.
Replying to Posts

You can reply to posts if the thread status is published. You cannot reply to posts in locked threads.

  1. Access the forum and select the thread.
  2. On the "Thread Detail" page, click the title of a post.
  3. Click "Reply".
  4. On the "Reply to Post" page, edit "Subject", if desired.
  5. Enter the reply in the "Message" text box. If desired, use the text editor.
  6. To attach a file, browse using the "Attach a File" function below the "Message" text box. Use the Text Editor to attach multiple files.
  7. Click "Save Draft" to store a draft of the post or click "Submit".

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Creating Threads

Depending on which forum settings the instructor has selected, students may be allowed to create new threads.

To create a thread:

  1. Access the forum.
  2. On the Action Bar, click "Create Thread".
  3. On the Create Thread page, enter a "Subject".
  4. Enter your reply in the "Message" text box.
  5. To attach a file, browse using the "Attach a File" function below the "Message" text box.
  6. Click "Save Draft" to store a draft of the post or click "Submit" to create a thread.

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The new message is the first post in the thread.

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Last Updated: 8/13/13