Blackboard’s Discussion Board tool is flexible and lends itself to many applications for your classes. If you are looking for some ideas for how to build discussion and interactivity in your course, these posts will give you a place to start.
Once you have a Discussion Board activity setup, the tips below can help you assess and review students’ posts so that you can stay on top of their contributions and conversations:
1. Use the Grade Forum button.
My favorite discussion tool is easily the Grade Forum button. If you set up your discussion to be graded, then you can find this button along the top of the forum or threads.
By clicking on this Grade Forum button, you can access a wealth of information about each student’s participation in the discussion. Once you click on the Grade button to the right of a student’s name, you’ll see the following information on the right side of the screen:
Below or next to this information (depending on your monitor size), you will see a list of all of the posts in the discussion forum by this student. This can be quite useful when you need to grade or review the level of an individual student’s participation.
2. Collect threads.
If your forums are not graded, you may want to use the Collect Thread button instead, which allows you to see all of the students’ threads listed on one page.
Use the top checkbox (highlighted in red below) to select all of the threads listed on the page. Then, click the Collect button shown.
You will be taken to the Collection view that lists of all of your students’ posts, which you can read without having to navigate in and out of every thread. At the top of the Collection screen, you have access to some additional tools:
- You can use the sort drop down menu (highlighted below) to choose how you want the collected posts to display. Sorting by author can be another helpful way to gauge a student’s participation.
- You can use the Print Preview button to quickly print all of your threads to a PDF file. Some instructors use this to archive their weekly discussions and share the files with students so that they can consult them even after the course ends.
3. Subscribe to key forums.
If you use an Ask the Professor or Q&A forum in your course, you may want to subscribe to it, so that you will get an email reminder every time a student posts there. You can find the subscription options under the Forum Settings when you create a new forum or edit an existing forum.
If you turn on subscriptions, both you and your students will have access to this feature. You can decide whether you want to allow students to subscribe to the whole forum, or just individual threads. This will likely depend on the purpose of the forum and how active it is. You can also decide whether the body of the post will be in the email or if you just want to link back to the forum in Blackboard.
Once you allow subscribing, you have to go back and choose which forums or threads you want to subscribe to. You will see a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen for any forums or threads that allow subscriptions.
If you want to track an individual student’s participation across multiple discussion forums, then you may want to check out the Performance Dashboard, which can be found in your Control Panel, under Evaluation.
This area includes a lot of interesting tracking information about your students that you may want to explore. But, if you click on the number listed in the Discussion Board column for one of your students, you will see overall statistics about that student’s participation in every discussion forum in your course. You can review the data that is provided in the image below.
You can also review students’ posts by clicking on the name of any of the listed forums.
Do you have tips to share?
Hopefully, these tips have given you some extra strategies for staying on top of your students’ posts in the discussion boards.
Do you have additional tips to share? Let us know in the comments!