In discussions, you can share thoughts and ideas about class materials. In Blackboard Learn, course members can have the thoughtful discussions that take place in the traditional classroom, but with the advantages of asynchronous communication. Participants don't need to be in the same location or time zone, and you can take the time to consider your responses carefully.

You can use discussions for these tasks:

  • Meet with your peers for collaboration and social interaction.
  • Pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and course content.
  • Demonstrate your understanding or application of course material.

Watch a video about discussions

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Use discussions explains how to use discussions in the Original course view.

Open the Discussion Board

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help on opening a discussion.

  1. Find the discussion board in two places:
    • On the course menu, select Discussions.
    • On the course menu, select Tools and then Discussion Board.
  2. The main Discussion Board page appears with a list of available discussion forums. On this page, you can perform these actions:
    1. Select a forum title to view the messages. Forum titles in bold contain unread posts.
    2. Select a forum to open the thread of posts.
    3. Select the number in the Unread Posts column for quick access to a forum's unread messages.

More on creating a reply

Course groups can have their own discussion boards. Group discussion boards are available only to users who are members of the group. If a group discussion board is available, you can find it in the groups link on the course menu or in the My Groups area.

More on opening discussions with JAWS®

You can edit or delete your replies if allowed by your instructor. If you post a reply in error and the options to edit or delete don't appear, contact your instructor.

More on editing and deleting replies

ULTRA: Open a discussion

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help on opening the discussion board.

Discussions work like an online forum about course concepts. Your instructor may expect you to create your own discussions and participate in existing ones. Sometimes, discussions contribute to your participation grade. Your instructor can also grade your contributions. Be sure to check with your syllabus or your instructor to see how discussions are used in your course.

To open a discussion, select the Discussions icon on your course's navigation bar. Select the discussion from the list that appears. Discussions can also appear alongside other course materials on the Course Content page. Each time you open a discussion, new responses and replies are highlighted to show you any activity that's happened since you last visited.

Your instructor may require you to respond to the discussion before you can read other responses and replies. By hiding your classmates' responses before you respond, your instructor is encouraging you to post an original response without the influence of your peers. When you open this type of discussion, a message lets you know that the content is revealed after you respond.

Discussions in the Ultra Course View don't use forums and threads.

Your instructor can also create a group discussion for you to discuss a topic with a subset of class members.

More on group discussions

How do I know if a discussion is graded?

If you see grading information in the discussion details, your participation counts for a grade. Your instructor assigns you a grade for the discussion as a whole, not for each individual post.

You can create and edit your posts up until the participation deadline. After the deadline, you'll be able to view your posts, but you won't be able to change them.

If your instructor associated a rubric with the discussion, select This item is graded with a rubric to display more information. You can view the grading criteria before you answer the prompt.

Late work

If set up by your instructor, you may see zeros for work you haven't submitted after the due date passes. You can still participate to update your grade. Your instructor determines grade penalties for late work.

You'll see your zero grade on your Grades pages and in the Details & Information panel for the discussion.

You're notified about the zero grade in your stream.

ULTRA: Create a discussion

You can create discussions for your classmates to participate in. Your instructor can delete any discussions, responses, and replies.

  1. In your course, select the Discussions icon on the navigation bar.
  2. Select the plus sign wherever you want to add your discussion.
  3. In the menu, select Add Discussion. On the New Discussion page, type a meaningful title and get the discussion started with a question, idea, or response.
  4. 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.

  5. Select Save when you're ready for others to see.

Choose your discussion title carefully. After you select Save, only your instructor can edit the title. 

Edit and delete discussions

You can edit or delete your discussion responses. Open the menu to access the Edit and Delete functions. If you delete your initial response, all replies remain. The system displays a message about your deletion so others know what happened. You can't edit the discussion title after you've created it.