I’d like to give you a brief introduction on how class discussion works in the Blackboard Learning Management System. In an online class, the discussion board is the primary way students communicate and participate in class. For those of you who teach in face-to-face courses in the evening program, the discussion board can be a great place to share information during the week before class sessions or to help keep students engaged in class discussion after each class session has concluded.
The discussion board has two main components: the initial discussion question and the thread. The initial question’s purpose is to prompt students to think about and interact with what they have been learning and to share those ideas with the rest of the class. The thread is the conversation that takes place: one student answers the question, another replies, and it keeps building from there. Here’s how it all works.
Each week there are typically three discussion questions: two directly related to the course content, and one spiritual life question, which ties the course content with a devotional. Students are usually required to respond to the initial questions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, while responding to their classmates’ posts throughout the week, with a minimum of two replies per forum. You are encouraged to join in the discussions as well!
Each question has its own forum in the Discussion Board, but the initial discussion questions are found in the Weekly Discussion Questions folder within each week’s lessons in Blackboard. Unfortunately, Blackboard doesn’t have a place to put the questions in the forum. The question titles in the Weekly Discussion Questions folder are links to the forum. The Discussion Board can also be reached through a link on the sidebar.
Once in the forum, students answer the question by starting a new thread. They give their thread a name and type their answer to the question, keeping in mind that they need to prompt a further response from other students to keep the conversation going. Students are required to write 250 words minimum for their initial post, and the only type of APA format required is for any sources referenced. After the post is completed, other students will read and respond, writing 150 words minimum and again asking questions to keep the conversation alive.
Once a student has written at least three posts, you will receive a notification that their contributions are ready to be graded. You can either grade through the Needs Grading tool the Grade Center, or grade all users in the forum by opening it and clicking “Grade Discussion Forum” on the Action Bar.