Discussion Boards

Discussion boards can be used to support the delivery of distance learning programmes and programmes delivered through block release (for example foundation degrees and apprenticeships).

Getting started

To set up a discussion board, find the module run or programme in Blackboard where you want the students to access the discussion board from. You can then either add a new Content Menu item, and call it Discussion Board (or something similar) or you can create a tool link and add a link directly to the discussion board. Here are the step by step instructions for creating a Tool Link:

  1. Hover over the ‘Add Menu Item’ button and click on ‘Tool Link’. See below: Adding a Tool Link to a Blackboard Module Menu
  2. Give your Tool Link a meaningful name, for example Discussion Board.
  3. Underneath the type of Tool Link, make sure you select ‘Discussion Board’.
  4. Make sure you tick ‘Available to Users’ to make this link available to your students.
  5. Click ‘Submit’ . The Tool Link will appear at the bottom of your menu.
  6. Click on the ‘Re-order items’ button.
  7. Scroll down to find the Tool Link that you created, highlight it and use the ‘up arrow’ to move it up the list to where you want it go and click ‘Submit’.
  8. A dialogue box confirms ‘Items have been reordered’. Click ‘ok’.

The advantage of the former is that you can add in some introductory content for the students.

Good practice

It is good practice to spell out the purpose of the Discussion Board, to say whether it will be moderated, and/or how often it will be checked.

Also, provide some guidance for students on what is acceptable practice. You could use this example:

Example content for Blackboard

Most of us are familiar with society’s guidelines known as etiquette. Online communication has its own rules and guidelines for etiquette; these are often referred to as ‘netiquette’. Keep these rules in mind for any kind of online communication including e-mail, discussion board posts and other online contact with your classmates or instructor. For a transcript of the video below, see click on Discussion Board Netiquette Guidelines, or watch the video (approximately 2 mins’ duration). For more information, please see the Blackboard Help pages on Discussion Boards.

[Then, using the Mashup tool in Blackboard, add a link to the Discussion Board Netiquette on YouTube.]


For more information on setting up Discussion Boards, please refer to the Blackboard Help page on Discussion Boards, come and see us in 3Q64 or email fet.liu@uwe.ac.uk.

Read the article Contingency plan for move to online delivery for more information.