In discussions, threads grow as users respond to the initial and subsequent posts. Replies build on one another to construct a conversation. As the number of posts grows, users can filter, sort, collect, and tag posts, if tagging is enabled.

Discussion etiquette

To help students understand your expectations, establish discussion etiquette immediately. You can model proper online interaction and reinforce appropriate behavior with public recognition. In addition, you can provide specific guidelines:

  • Use descriptive subject lines to make threads easy to follow and scan.
  • Keep posts short and use plain language. Your audience is reading onscreen and may have several messages to read.
  • Support your statements with evidence when you agree or disagree with others.
  • Use professional language, including proper grammar, in academic-related posts. No slang, emoticons, or chat acronyms allowed.
  • Use attachments or links to websites for long, detailed information.
  • Stay on topic. If you want to introduce a new tangent, find a suitable forum or start a new thread if allowed.
  • Be respectful of other people's opinions and remember the golden rule—to treat others as you want to be treated.

For graded forums and threads, tell students specifically what you expect both in terms of quantity and quality of posts. You can even share some exemplary posts. You can also use rubrics to help students understand your objectives. When you compile your grading criteria in a rubric, you can provide students with clear performance standards and grade consistently.

More on rubrics

Reply to a thread

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about replying to a discussion.

Users can reply to published threads, but can't reply to locked or hidden threads.

  1. Open a thread inside a forum.
  2. On the thread's page, you can view the text of the post and information, such as the author and posted date. All replies appear on the same page with the parent post.
  3. Point to the post to see options such as Reply, Quote, Edit, Delete, and Email Author. The Quote option includes the post's text as part of your reply. Select Reply. If you want to view only the unread posts in the thread, select Unread. The unread posts appear on one page.
  4. The page expands below the post you're responding to. You can view the post and access the editor.
  5. If needed, edit the Subject. Type your reply in the Message box. You can also attach a file.
  6. After the Message box, you can attach a file. Select Browse My Computer to upload a file from your computer. You can also upload a file from the course's file repository: Course Files or the Content Collection.

    Files that students upload aren't saved to the file repository.

  7. Select Save Draft to store a draft of the post or select Submit to publish your reply.

On the thread page, your reply appears at the end of the list. If you attached a file, a paper clip icon appears next to the post's title. If you used the Insert/Edit Image option, the image appears with the text.

More on replying with JAWS®

Rate posts

The discussion board can also be used for peer review. Students start threads and include their work in their initial posts. Other users review the work, assign a rating to the initial post, and include comments in a response.

Rating posts also helps users focus on messages that others consider especially informative or useful. If you enabled rating, users can rate posts with a five-star system. You can also rate posts.

You must enable Allow Members to Rate Posts in forum settings for this option to appear.

  1. Open a thread inside a forum.
  2. On the thread's page, when you point to a thread's rating area, it changes to show Your Rating.
  3. Select one to five stars. You can add and remove stars at any time.
  4. Your rating is included in the Overall Rating—the combined rating of all users.

More on rating posts with JAWS

ULTRA: Respond to a discussion

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about replying to a discussion thread.

From your mobile device or desktop, jump into discussions at any time. You can also review and respond directly from the activity stream.

From the activity stream: The activity stream is your key to access new course content quickly in Blackboard Learn. You can participate in any discussion for any of your courses instantly. Select a discussion in the list and a layer opens. New responses and replies are highlighted so you can see what's changed since you last visited the discussion. Close the layer to return to the activity stream.

In a course: You can access a discussion from the Course Content page or from the Discussions page.

Note that the author of the discussion appears above the Participants list. All course members can see who created the discussion. You determine if your students are allowed to create discussions.

You can use the options in the editor to format text, attach files, and embed multimedia.

To use your keyboard to jump to the editor toolbar, press ALT + F10. On a Mac, press Fn + ALT + F10. Use the arrow keys to select an option, such as a numbered list.

Word count for discussion responses

As you and your students create discussion responses, the word count appears below the editor. After you save your response, the word count no longer appears.

These items are included in the word count:

  • Individual words
  • Web links
  • Text in bulleted or numbered lists, but the bullets or numbers themselves aren't included
  • Superscript and subscript text not part of another word

These items and formatting elements don't affect the word count:

  • Images, videos, and file attachments
  • Math formulas
  • Blank spaces and lines
  • Alternative text

When you use punctuation to attach words or numbers, the count is affected. For example, "We went...without you" is counted as three words. The words or numbers on either side of the punctuation are counted as one word.

ULTRA: Delete responses and replies

Instructors can edit or delete anyone's responses and replies. Students can delete only their own responses and replies.

Open the menu for a response or reply to access the Edit and Delete functions. If you delete an initial response, all replies remain. The system displays a message about your deletion so others know what happened.