Blackboard: Threaded Discussions

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A threaded discussion is otherwise known as a message board, discussion board or forum. Essentially it is a place where one person can start a discussion (thread) by posting a comment. Other people can then reply directly to this comment with their own comments. Further, other users can then reply to those replies and so forth. Thus, through the messages and replies an entire conversation can be built upon the comments and reactions of the students to each others postings, essays and papers.

Potential Uses:

  • Classroom discussions can be extended in depth on line after class in a Threaded Discussion Board.
  • Threaded Discussions can be used to plan and prepare for future in-class discussions. In this way, students are able to gather ideas from each other on a topic before going to class.
  • In basic language courses, students could post their written assignments and essays in a threaded discussion, which their peers can ask questions about or make comments on. In this way, students can use Threaded Discussions to practice their dialogue skills in the target language.

Creating a Threaded Discussion:

So how do you go about adding a threaded discussion to your BB course web site?

1. Firstly go to the "Communication" tab in the left hand menu.

picture of left menu

2. This will bring up a list of the different communications applications you can add to your Blackboard web site. Select "Discussion Boards."

3. Continuing, we need to create a forum. Your threaded discussion board can have many forums, each holding many threads. Generally you would organize the discussions by creating forums centered around different topics. To add a forum click the "Add Forum" button.

picture of add forum

4. This brings up a form where you can set the title of the forum and add a description for it. Here would be a good place to enter instructions for your students. For example, in this form you could enter a question from class that you want them to discuss.

picture of add thread

5. You can then set the forum settings to customize the forum the way you want to have it run. For example, you may not want students to edit their comments or delete them once they are posted, hence, you would not check those two boxes.

picture of forum settings


6. Finally you can set permissions for users of your forums such as making certain users have administrator rights, or even blocking certain users from posting:

picture of user settings

7. When you are happy with your settings click the submit button.

8. You will now be taken to a list of all of the forums that you have created. In this case we have only created one. To enter that forum, click on its name.

9. A new forum will not have any threads in it, you will need to start a thread by clicking the "Add thread button.

picture of add thread button

10.To start the new thread you just have to submit the first message to it. Give your message a subject and then fill in your comment in the message box. Like most text boxes in BlackBoard, you can add HTML to the message to embed items such as pictures and movies. You can also attach a file by clicking the "Add File..." button. When you are ready to add your message to the message board then click the "Submit" button.

picture of add message button


11.You should now be taken back to the listing of the threads in the discussion board. Clicking on the title of a message (in this case "First Thread") will open that message for you to read.

picture of view forum


12. Once the message is open you will be able to read the full text of the message. If you wish to reply to it you can do so by clicking thepicture of replybutton. This will bring up the same window as the "Add New Thread" button did where you can enter a message with a subject and a comment and attach files to it (see number 10)

13.Once a message has replies to it then you will be able to see all of the replies in the main view. A thread can either be expanded (all of the replies' titles are visible) or collapsed (non of the replies are visible.) You can switch between expanded and collapsed views by clicking on the small plus sign next to the title of a collapsed thread or the little minus sign next to an expanded thread.

picture of thread expand and collapse

14.Clicking on the title of any message will open that message.