Enabling Discussion Board Grading

This lesson will demonstrate how to enable forum grading for discussion boards in Blackboard.

Accessing the Discussion Board

Image of the Blackboard Course Menu with Discussion Board outlined with a red circle.

Log into your Blackboard course and click on the Discussion Board link in the course menu.

Editing the Discussion Board Information

You will now see a list of discussion forums in the course.  Hover over the forum you wish to enable grading and click the chevron next to the forum you wish to grade and select Edit from the menu.

Enabling Forum Grading, Part 1

Enabling Forum Grading, Part 1

Scroll down to the Grade section of the Forum Settings allows instructors to set up grading options in the forum.  The options are as follows:

  1. No Grading in Forum: Select this option to leave the forum ungraded.
  2. Grade Discussion Forum: Points Possible: Select this option to assign a grade for the discussion forum and enter the total points possible in the space provided.  This option will change the Alignments to Forum Alignments.  Selecting this option will also expand the section on grading with additional options.
  3. Grade Threads: This option allows instructors to specify points and grade individual threads in Blackboard.  Selecting this option will change the Alignments option to Thread Alignments.
Discussion Forum Grading Additional Options
Image of the Grade section with the following annotations: 1.Show Participants in "Needs Grading" status after every N Posts: Check this option to show participants in the Grade Center as needs grading after the student has made the specified number of postings.2.Due Date: Use the time and date pickers to enter a due date for the discussion forum that will appear in the student's Calendar and To Do module.3.Associated Rubrics: Click the Add Rubric button to select a rubric to use for grading.

Upon selecting the option to grade a discussion forum, the following additional options will appear on the screen:

  1. Show Participants in "Needs Grading" status after every N Posts: Check this option to show participants in the Grade Center as needs grading after the student has made the specified number of postings.
  2. Due Date: Use the time and date pickers to enter a due date for the discussion forum that will appear in the student's Calendar and To Do module.
  3. Associated Rubrics: Click the Add Rubric button to select a rubric to use for grading.

When finished setting grading options for the forum, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the Submit button to save changes.

Best Practices

Benefits for Faculty

With graded discussions, instructors can assess students' ability to: think critically, express their thoughts in a clear way, and communicate with others. Instructors can show a student where their contributions excel and where they can improve by assigning them a grade. Discussion boards also create a permanent record of participation.

The instructor will find it helpful to consider the following best practices when grading discussion board activities:

  • Grading must be matched to learning outcomes (Quality Matters standards 3.1 and 5.1).
  • Grading must be aligned with instruction (QM 4.1).
  • Students must be given clear guidelines regarding how their work will be graded (i.e., grading rubrics - QM 3.3).
Benefits for Students

Grading a discussion board encourages thoughtful contributions from students and lets students know how they performed, thus shaping the improvement of future interactions.

When and How

Instructors need to give students a practical number of learner-learner and learner-instructor discussion opportunities throughout the course (QM 5.2), as well as timely and constructive feedback regarding the quality of their contributions.