Blackboard Discussion Boards: An Overview

A key feature of Blackboard is the Discussion Board. The Discussion Board is designed to facilitate online discussion and allows students to create new threads and respond to other students’ posts. Discussion Boards are often used to supplement in-class discussions for face-to-face courses, and serves as a major tool for communication in online courses.


Discussions in Blackboard resemble an electronic bulletin board, where users post their messages when they have time. In the Discussion Board, a forum is a general topic for discussion. A thread is subordinate discussion within the forum. A message is the actual post submitted by instructors and students.

Discussion Board Vocabulary

  1. Forums: A discussion board is comprised of one or more forums. Each forum pertains to a specific topic or assignment.
  2. Threads: Forums are comprised of one or more discussions, or threads. When a student wants to start a new discussion in a forum, they create a new thread. Other students can reply to the first to strike up a conversation, or post a new thread to start their own. Responses are grouped together (or “threaded”) to help keep track of the conversations.
  3. Posts: Threads are comprised of one or more posts. Each response in a forum is considered a post, whether it starts a new thread or continues an existing one.

Make It Happen

Deep Dive: Everything you Ever Wanted to Know about BB Discussion Boards

The other side: A Critique of Online Discussion Boards

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