Creating Group Discussion Forums

This lesson will demonstrate how to create group discussion forums for course groups.  The process of creating the group discussion forums would need to be repeated for each course group.

Accessing the Course Groups, Part 1

Image of the course menu with Groups highlighted with a red circle.

Log into Blackboard and click on the Groups link in the course menu.  Please refer to the instructions on how to add the groups link if your course site does not already have the groups link.

Accessing the Course Groups, Part 2

Image of the Groups page with an arrow pointing to a group name with instructions to click on the name of the group you would like to access.

You will now see a list of groups within the course site.  Click on the name of the group in which you wish to add a discussion forum to.

Creating a Group Discussion Forum, Part 1

Image of the Group home page with an arrow pointing to Group Discussion Board within the Group Tools Moduel with instructions to click on the Group Discussion Board.

You will now be taken to the group homepage for the group you selected.  In the box labeled Group Tools, click on Group Discussion Board.

Creating a Discussion Forum, Part 2

Image of the Discussion Board Screen with the Create Forum button at the top of the page highlighted with a red circle.

You will now see a screen labeled Discussion Board. At the top of the page, click the Create Forum button to create a new forum.

Setting up Forum Information and Availability

You will now see a screen labeled Create Forum. Section 1: Forum Information allows you to enter a name and description for the forum:

  1. Name: Enter a name for the discussion forum here.
  2. Description: Enter a description of the forum here.

Setting Up the Forum Availability

Image of Section 2: Forum Availability with the following annotations: 1.Available: Select Yes to allow students to access the forums.2.Enter Time and Date Restrictions: Use the date and time pickers to limit the forum availability to a specific date range.  Note: if a Display Until date is set,  students will no longer have access to the forum contents after this date.

Section 2: Forum Availability allows instructors to set up the visibility of the forum to students:

  1. Available: Select Yes to allow students to access the forums.
  2. Enter Time and Date Restrictions: Use the date and time pickers to limit the forum availability to a specific date range.  Note: if a Display Until date is set,  students will no longer have access to the forum contents after this date.

Setting up Forum Settings: Overview

The image above shows Section 3: Forum Settings with all the forum settings listed.  The settings are divided into groups and are explained in more detail in the following steps:

  1. Viewing Threads/Replies: The options in this section determine how students view threads within the forum.
  2. Grade: This section allows instructors to enable grading for the discussion forum.
  3. Alignments: This section allows instructors to determine how the discussion forum is aligned with course goals.
  4. Subscribe: This section allows instructors to enable subscription options for the forum.
  5. Create and Edit: This option allows instructors to determine students' ability to edit their posts.
  6. Additional Options: This section allows instructors to modify additional options related to the discussion forum setup.

Setting up Forum Settings: Overview

Image of Section 3: Forum Settings with the following annotations: 1.Viewing Threads/Replies: The options in this section determine how students view threads within the forum.2.Grade: This section allows instructors to enable grading for the discussion forum.3.Alignments: This section allows instructors to determine how the discussion forum is aligned with course goals.4.Subscribe: This section allows instructors to enable subscription options for the forum.5.Create and Edit: This option allows instructors to determine students' ability to edit their posts.6.Additional Options: This section allows instructors to modify additional options related to the discussion forum setup.

The image above shows Section 3: Forum Settings with all the forum settings listed.  The settings are divided into groups and are explained in more detail in the following steps:

  1. Viewing Threads/Replies: The options in this section determine how students view threads within the forum.
  2. Grade: This section allows instructors to enable grading for the discussion forum.
  3. Alignments: This section allows instructors to determine how the discussion forum is aligned with course goals.
  4. Subscribe: This section allows instructors to enable subscription options for the forum.
  5. Create and Edit: This option allows instructors to determine students' ability to edit their posts.
  6. Additional Options: This section allows instructors to modify additional options related to the discussion forum setup.

Viewing Threads/Replies

Image of Viewing Threads/Replies with the following annotations: 1.Standard View: Selecting this option will allow students to view all the threads and replies that have been posted to the forum.2.Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum: Selecting this option will prevent students from seeing other students' posts until they create a post of their own.  This option will also disable anonymous posts, and the ability for students to edit or delete their own posts.

The Viewing Threads/Replies section of the Forum Settings allows instructors to choose how students can view threads and replies within the forum.

  1. Standard View: Selecting this option will allow students to view all the threads and replies that have been posted to the forum.
  2. Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum: Selecting this option will prevent students from seeing other students' posts until they create a post of their own.  This option will also disable anonymous posts, and the ability for students to edit or delete their own posts.

Forum Grading

Forum Grading

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.

Alignments

Image of the Alignments section with the following annotations: 1.Forum Alignments: Choose this option to align goals at the forum level.2.Thread Alignments: Choose this option to align goals at the thread level.

The Alignments options will allow instructors to choose how to align the forum to course goals.  Depending on the grading options selected, a default selection will be applied automatically.

  1. Forum Alignments: Choose this option to align goals at the forum level.
  2. Thread Alignments: Choose this option to align goals at the thread level.

Subscription Options

Image of the Subscribe section with the following annotations: 1.Do not allow subscriptions: Choose this option to disable students from subscribing to the forum.2.Allow members to subscribe to threads: Choose this option to allow students to select threads to subscribe to3.Allow members to subscribe to forum: Choose this option to allow students to subscribe to the entire forum.4.Include body of post in the email: Choose this option to allow students to see the entire post in the email.5.Include link to post: Choose this option to create a direct link to the post in the subscription email only.

The Subscription Options section allows instructors to permit students to subscribe to the forum and receive email messages of forum activity.

  1. Do not allow subscriptions: Choose this option to disable students from subscribing to the forum.
  2. Allow members to subscribe to threads: Choose this option to allow students to select threads to subscribe to
  3. Allow members to subscribe to forum: Choose this option to allow students to subscribe to the entire forum.
  4. Include body of post in the email: Choose this option to allow students to see the entire post in the email.
  5. Include link to post: Choose this option to create a direct link to the post in the subscription email only.

Create and Edit Options

Image of the Create And Edit section with the following annotations: 1.Allow Anonymous Posts: If this option is enabled, it allows students to post anonymously to the forum.  Generally this option is not recommened.2.Allow Author to delete own posts: Check this option to allow students to delete posts they have created.  This option is not recommended in graded discussion forums.  Under this option are two related options: All posts allows students to delete any post they created; however if a student deletes a post with replies, then all the replies will be deleted.  Only posts with no replies allows students to delete posts that users have not responded to.3.Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts: Enabling this option allows students to edit their posts once they post them.  This option is not recommended for use in graded forums.4.Allow Members to Create Own Threads: Check this option to allow students to create their own threads. Note: Deselecting this option will prevent students from using the discussion board unless the instructor creates threads to which students can reply.  If no thread is available, students will now be able to submit a post.5.Allow File Attachments: Check this option to allow students to attach files to their discussion posts.6.Allow Users to Reply with Quote: Check this option to allow users to quote existing students' posts in their replies.7.Force Moderation of Posts: If this option is selected, students do not see their posts immediately after posting.  Instead, the posts are placed in a moderation queue for the course instructor to review or release.

The section of Create and Edit Options allows instructors to determine which permissions students have in relation to creating and editing discussion board posts:

  1. Allow Anonymous Posts: If this option is enabled, it allows students to post anonymously to the forum.  Generally this option is not recommened.
  2. Allow Author to delete own posts: Check this option to allow students to delete posts they have created.  This option is not recommended in graded discussion forums.  Under this option are two related options: All posts allows students to delete any post they created; however if a student deletes a post with replies, then all the replies will be deleted.  Only posts with no replies allows students to delete posts that users have not responded to.
  3. Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts: Enabling this option allows students to edit their posts once they post them.  This option is not recommended for use in graded forums.
  4. Allow Members to Create Own Threads: Check this option to allow students to create their own threads. Note: Deselecting this option will prevent students from using the discussion board unless the instructor creates threads to which students can reply.  If no thread is available, students will now be able to submit a post.
  5. Allow File Attachments: Check this option to allow students to attach files to their discussion posts.
  6. Allow Users to Reply with Quote: Check this option to allow users to quote existing students' posts in their replies.
  7. Force Moderation of Posts: If this option is selected, students do not see their posts immediately after posting.  Instead, the posts are placed in a moderation queue for the course instructor to review or release.

Additional Options for Discussion Board Settings

Image of the Additional Options screen with the following annotations: 1.Allow Post Tagging: Enabling this option allows users to tag posts with their own comments.2.Allow Members to Rate Posts: Enabling this option allows users to rate other students' posts on a five-point scale.

The Additional Options section provides two optional features for instructors to enable:

  1. Allow Post Tagging: Enabling this option allows users to tag posts with their own comments.
  2. Allow Members to Rate Posts: Enabling this option allows users to rate other students' posts on a five-point scale.

Finishing Up

When finished with setting up the discussion forum, click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to create the forum.