Discussion boards - student guidance

Discussion boards in your Blackboard courses enable you to share thoughts and ideas about course materials, and connect with your peers and tutors outside of the classroom environment. You can ask questions and post comments about readings, assignments and other course content to support your learning journey. 

Discussion boards allow you to create new discussion threads, comment on existing threads, and subscribe to boards or threads to be notified when new posts are added.

Your tutors can also set up discussion boards to allow you to post anonymously, which can be useful in some circumstances. When posting anonymously please ensure you do not post anything inappropriate. Contact your tutor if you are unsure about contributing to discussions anonymously on your course.  

Page menu

How to access a discussion board

  1. Open your Blackboard course and click the Discussion Board link on the left-hand course menu.

Blackboard course menu with the Discussion Board link highlighted

  1. On the next page, click on the discussion board title to open it.

Link to a Discussion Board page on Blackboard, the title of the discussion board is highlighted

  1. In the discussion board you will see all the discussion threads listed, the date they were posted, the threads authors, how many unread posts each thread contains, and any unread replies to posts you've made.

  2. Click on a discussion thread title to open the thread, comment and read any posts and replies.

Blackboard discussion board. Discussion thread titles are listed alongside date and author

Create a discussion thread

  1. Open a discussion board and click Create Thread

Blackboard discussion board, the Create Thread button is highlighted

  1. You will see the forum description provided by your tutor, including the purpose of the discussion board and instructions for how to use it.

Blackboard Create Thread page, the Forum Description box with notes from a tutor is highlighted

  1. Enter a title for your thread in the Subject text box, and then type your post in the Message text box.

Blackboard Create Thread page, the subject field and message textbox are highlighted

Tip: You can use the formatting options in the text editor to change the font style, size and colour, and the Add Content button (+ icon) to embed a Kaltura video, image or file into your post.

  1. If your tutor has enabled anonymous posting, you can tick the Post Message as Anonymous checkbox to remove your name from the post.

  2. You are able to attach files from your computer by clicking Browse Local Files under the message box.

  3. Click Submit to publish your thread to the discussion board, or click Save Draft to store a draft to publish later.

  4. Once you've published a thread, it will appear in the list of threads on the discussion board. It will show the author (unless it's been published anonymously), and how many unread posts and replies the thread has.

Thread posted to a discussion board. Author, unread posts and unread replies highlighted

Comment on a discussion thread

  1. Click on the discussion thread title to open the thread and read the original post, and any replies posted by your peers or tutors.

Blackboard discussion thread, clickable thread title is highlighted

  1. Under each posts in the thread you will see the options Reply and Quote. Clicking Reply allows you to reply to a post, clicking Quote includes the post's text as part of your reply.

Blackboard discussion thread post, Reply and Quote buttons highlighted

  1. Enter your reply in the Message box text box. If your tutor has enabled anonymous posting, you can tick the Post Message as Anonymous checkbox to remove your name from the post.

  2. Click Submit to post your comment.

  3. You may see Edit and Delete options under your posts, if your tutor has set up the discussion board to allow you to edit and delete your own posts.

Subscribe to a discussion board or thread

Your tutor may have set up a discussion board to allow you to subscribe to either the board itself, or to individual threads, and receive email alerts when new posts are added.  

Subscribe to a discussion board

  1. Open a discussion board and click Subscribe.

Blackboard discussion board, Subscribe button is highlighted

Subscribe to a discussion thread

  1. Open a discussion board and tick the checkboxes next to the threads you wish to subscribe to.

Blackboard discussion board, checkboxes next to discussion threads are ticked

  1. Click the Thread Actions button and select Subscribe/Unsubscribe

Blackboard discussion board Thread Actions menu, Subscribe/Unsubscribe option is highlighted

Frequently asked questions

If I post something anonymously - can it be changed to show my name?

If you choose to post something anonymously it will stay anonymous unless you choose to edit the post and untick the Post Message as Anonymous checkbox. No one else can change that setting.

Please note: Your tutor holds the right to delete any posts that are inappropriate on any discussion board.

Can I comment anonymously on someone else's thread?

Yes, if your tutor has enabled anonymous posting on the discussion board. When creating a post, or commenting on another post, you are able to tick the Post Message as Anonymous checkbox to post anonymously.

Can I delete my own posts in discussion boards?

If your tutor has enabled the option you can delete a thread you have created in a discussion board. Click on the title of the thread, and then click Delete from the post options. You can only delete posts that you have created, not posts from your peers. Tutors on the course are able to delete posts if required.

Can I be notified when the discussion board is updated?

Yes, you can either:

  • Click the Subscribe button when you open the discussion board and this will notify you whenever new posts are added.
  • Click the checkbox next to a discussion thread, then click Thread Actions and select Subscribe/Unsubscribe.
Can I print any discussion board threads?

Yes, for easy reading and saving you can tick the checkbox next to the thread, click the Collect button and then select Print Preview to export posts into a printable format.

Related information

301 Study Skills: Online Communication