Setting up Blackboard® Discussion Forums

Setting up Blackboard® Discussion ForumsOver the past couple of weeks, JCC faculty have been experimenting with discussion boards in their classrooms. While there has been a lot of success, some individuals have experienced some confusion regarding the set up procedures. There are a number of different ways for setting up a discussion board, and this post will highlight three different methods. 

Adding the Discussion Forum List to Course Content


With this method, we are going to create a link to the Discussion Board list within the Content folder, add a new discussion forum to the list, and add a thread to the discussion forum. Here are the steps for this process:

  1. From within your Blackboard course, navigate to the folder where you wish to place the Discussion Board list.
  2. Select Discussion Board from the Tools drop down menu in the center of the screen.
  3. Select the Link to Discussion Board Page option.
  4. Click on the Next button.
  5. Update the name and description.
  6. Update options. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  7. Click on the the new link you created.
  8. Click on the Create Forum button.
  9. Enter the name and description of the forum. The name and description will show up on the discussion board page. Additionally, the description will show up in the discussion forum threads.
  10. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  11. Update the forum settings to your preferences.
  12. Click on the Submit button.
  13. To add a thread, click on the discussion title.
  14. Click on Create Thread button.
  15. Add a subject and message.
  16. Click on Submit button.

Creating a New Discussion Forum in a Content Folder

This method is a straightforward way to create a discussion forum in a specific folder. Here are the steps:

  1. From within your Blackboard course, navigate to the folder where you wish to place the Discussion Forum.
  2. Select Discussion Board from the Tools drop down menu in the center of the screen.
  3. Click on the Create New Forum button.
  4. Enter the name and description of the forum. The name and description will show up on the discussion board page. Additionally, the description will show up in the discussion forum threads.
  5. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  6. Update the forum settings to your preferences.
  7. Click on the Submit button.
  8. Ensure Select a Discussion Board Forum is selected and select your discussion forum from the list provided.
  9. Click on the Next button.
  10. Enter the name and description of the forum.
  11. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  12. Click on the Submit button.
  13. To add a thread, click on the discussion title.
  14. Click on Create Thread button.
  15. Add a subject and message.
  16. Click on Submit button.

Creating a Discussion Forum and Adding It to a Content Folder

This final method shows how to create a Discussion Forum with the discussion tools and then added it to a folder within the course content.

  1. From within your Blackboard course, navigate to the Course Tools on the left hand menu.
  2. Select the Discussion Board tool.
  3. Select the Discussion board folder for your course from the list provided.
  4. Click on the Create New Forum button.
  5. Enter the name and description of the forum. The name and description will show up on the discussion board page. Additionally, the description will show up in the discussion forum threads.
  6. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  7. Update the forum settings to your preferences.
  8. Click on the Submit button.
  9. From within your Blackboard course, navigate to the folder where you wish to place the Discussion Forum.
  10. Select Discussion Board from the Tools drop down menu in the center of the screen.
  11. Ensure Select a Discussion Board Forum is selected and select your discussion forum from the list provided.
  12. Click on the Next button.
  13. Enter the name and description of the forum.
  14. Ensure Available is set to Yes.
  15. Click on the Submit button.
  16. To add a thread, click on the discussion title.
  17. Click on Create Thread button.
  18. Add a subject and message.
  19. Click on Submit button.

Important Notes

  • Availability – If you students report they can not see your discussion board. Ensure that availability is set for yes at both the tool level and in the content area for your discussion board.
  • Graded forums vs threads – When you create a discussion board, you can make it a graded activity. When you select Grade Forum, an item will be added in the Grade Center for the forum; however, if you select grade threads, an item will be added in the Grade Center for each thread created. NOTE: If threads are graded, students cannot start threads in the forum. The instructor has to create the initial or first posting in that discussion thread.

If you need help with these procedures, please contact us.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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2 thoughts on “Setting up Blackboard® Discussion Forums

    • Thanks for the article! I focused on the mechanics in this post because that is the problem we are currently facing. Once we have the mechanics down, we will definitely explore getting the most from discussion boards.

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