Discussion boards can be powerful tools for supporting online and blended learning courses, if used correctly.This post will look at the benefits of discussion board, adding a discussion to a Blackboard course, and some best practices.
A well constructed discussion board has many benefits as noted in this Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation resource guide:
Benefits of Using Online Discussion Boards
- Builds class community by promoting discussion on course topics
- Allows time for in-depth reflection- students have more time to reflect, research & compose their thoughts before participating in the discussion
- Facilitates learning by allowing students to view & to respond to the work of others
Develops thinking & writing skills
- Allows guest experts to participate in the course by posting information & responding to questions (p. 2).
Adding a Discussion Board to Blackboard
Adding a discussion to Blackboard is a relatively straight forward process. Blackboard has provided a number of articles and videos on the topic along with tips and best practices.
- Discussion Board
- About the Discussion Board
- Creating Forums in the Discussion Board (Step 1)
- Creating a Discussion Board Forum (Flash Movie)
- Creating Threads in the Discussion Board (Step 2)
- Grading Discussion Board Participation
- Managing Discussions
- Moderating Discussions
- Viewing Discussion Board Statistics
Lynda.com also has a thorough video tutorial on online Blackboard discussions. It will take about 33 minutes to complete, if viewing all segments. This resource is available to all SUNY JCC faculty. You can access Lynda.com through Banner.
As noted above, there are many benefits to discussion boards; however, it does not magically happen. Across the years, experienced educators have identified best practices. I have collected some of those recommendations in this Diigo collection.
If you have been using discussion boards in your classes, what suggestions can you offer to other educators?