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Participating in the Discussion Board

Last Modified
16:37, 14 Mar 2013

In the discussion board, 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. To learn more about tagging, see How to Tag Discussion Threads.

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, such as:

  • Use descriptive subject lines to make threads easy to follow and scan.
  • Keep posts short and use uncomplicated language. Your audience is reading onscreen and may have several messages to read.
  • Back up your statements 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 it is 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, and consider sharing some exemplary posts. You can also use rubrics to help students understand your objectives. By compiling your grading criteria in a rubric, you can provide students with clear performance standards and grade consistently. To learn more, see Rubrics.

How to Reply to Discussion Posts

Users can reply to published threads, but cannot reply to locked or hidden threads. To learn more, see How to Change the Status of a Thread in a Discussion Forum.

  1. Access a forum and select a thread.
  2. On the Thread Detail page, click a post's title. The post appears in the Current Post portion of the content frame. You can view the text of the post and information about the post, such as the author and posted date.
  3. Click Reply. Alternatively, click Quote to include the post's text as part of your reply.

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  4. On the Reply to Post page, click View Original Post on the action bar to include the original message on the page while replying. Click Close Original Post to hide the original post from view. If needed, edit the Subject.
  5. Type a reply in the Message box. You can use the content editor functions to format the text and include files, images, web links, multimedia, and mashups. Any files you upload from your computer are saved in Course Files or the Content Collection in the top-level folder. Attachments you upload using the content editor can be launched in a new window and can include alternate text to describe the attachment.

    Files uploaded by students are not saved to the course repository.

  6. Alternatively, in the Attachments section, attach a file using one of the following options:
    • To upload a file from your computer, click Browse My Computer.
    • To upload a file from the course's storage repository:
      • If Course Files is the course's storage repository, click Browse Course.

        -OR-

      • If your school licenses content management, click Browse Content Collection.
  7. Click Save Draft to store a draft of the post or click Submit to publish your reply.

Your reply appears on the Thread Detail page, indented under the parent post. If you attached a file, a paper clip icon appears in the post's row. Click the title to open the post in the current post portion of the content frame. Use the Move to previous and Move to next arrows to view another post or use the breadcrumbs to return to the forum or the Discussion Board page.

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How to Rate Discussion Posts

You can use the discussion board 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 allows users to focus on messages considered especially informative or useful by others. If you enabled rating, users can rate posts using a five star system. You can also rate posts.

To enable rating, select the Allow Members to Rate Posts option when creating or editing the forum. To learn more, see How to Edit Discussion Forums.

  1. Access the forum and select the thread.
  2. On the Thread Detail page, click a post's title. The post appears in the Current Post portion of the content frame.
  3. For Your Rating, select one to five stars. You can add and delete stars at any time.

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    Your rating is included in the Overall Rating, which is the combined rating of all users. Use the Move to previous and Move to next arrows to view another post or use the breadcrumbs to return to the forum or the Discussion Board page.

How to Search Discussion Posts

You can search for specific text—a phrase, word, or part of a word—in the discussion board. The results appear on a search results page.

The options in the drop-down list depend on where your search began. All Forums in Course includes any group discussion boards in your course. Students do not see results from group discussion boards unless they are members of that group.

  1. Access the discussion board, a forum, or a thread.
  2. On the action bar, click Search. The Search field expands.
  3. Type a search criterion in the Search box.
  4. In the drop-down list, select an area to search:
    • Current Discussion Board
    • All Forums in Course
    • Current Forum
    • Current Thread
  5. To further narrow your search results, select the After and Before check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Type dates and times in the boxes or use the pop-up Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times.
  6. Click Go.

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On the Search Results page, you can read and print the results. On the action bar, click Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. To select which posts appear and in which order, you can filter and sort posts using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order drop-down lists on the action bar. To learn more, see How to Filter Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting and How to Sort Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting.

On this page, you can also reply to posts and mark messages read or unread. Click the Quote function to include the post's text as part of your reply. To view the responses to a post, click the post's hyperlinked title to navigate to the Thread Detail page.

How to Collect Discussion Posts

On the Thread Detail page, you can read one post at a time. To read multiple posts from the same page, use the collect function. After collecting posts, you can filter, sort, print, and tag them. To learn about tagging posts, see How to Tag Discussion Threads.

The collect function is also available from the forum page where you can gather all the posts made to different threads. After collecting posts, filter and sort the messages to further organize them.

A student posts a question to request help and seven classmates reply. The student can collect the initial post and the replies on one collection page to read or print.

Follow these steps to collect some or all posts in a thread:

To select all the posts in a thread, click Select: All above the Message List. All check boxes for all the posts are selected whether they are expanded or collapsed.

  1. Access a forum and select a thread.
  2. On the Thread Detail page, select the check boxes of the posts to collect. If a post has replies and you want them to appear on a collection page, click the plus sign to expand the post and select the check boxes for those messages.
  3. On the action bar, click Collect.

On the Collection page, you can read and print the results. On the action bar, click Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. To select which posts appear and in which order, you can filter and sort posts using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order drop-down lists on the action bar. To learn more, see How to Filter Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting and How to Sort Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting.

On this page, you can also reply to posts and mark messages read or unread. Click the Quote function to include the post's text as part of your reply. To view the responses to a post, click the post's hyperlinked title to navigate to the Thread Detail page.

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How to Filter Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting

To narrow your search results or sort a collection, you can use the filter function. If you print the posts after filtering, they print in the order they appear on the page.

If the author or authors of some posts are no longer enrolled in your course, the posts may appear out of order.

  1. On the Search Results or Collection page, click the Filter function on the action bar to expand the field. Select options from the following drop-down lists:
    • Author: Select All or select an author.
    • Status: Show All or select a status.
    • Read Status: Select Show All, Read, or Unread posts.
    • Tags: Show All tags or select a tag.
  2. Click Go to apply the selections. You can further organize the results using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order drop-down lists on the action bar.
  3. Click the X to close the Filter field.

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How to Sort Discussion Posts After Searching or Collecting

To narrow your search results or sort a collection, you can use the Sort by and Order drop-down lists. If you print the posts after sorting, the posts print in the order they appear on the page.

If the author or authors of some posts are no longer enrolled in your course, the posts may appear out of order.

  1. On the Search Results or Collection page, point to Sort by on the action bar to access the drop-down list.
  2. Select an option:

    If you enabled the rating of posts, you can also sort by Overall Rating.

    • Author's Last Name
    • Author's First Name
    • Subject
    • Date of Last Post
    • Thread Order
  3. On the action bar, point to Order to access the drop-down list.
  4. Sort posts in ascending or descending order.

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video  Creating a Discussion Board Thread (Flash movie | 2m 4s)

video  Replying to a Discussion Board Thread (Flash movie | 2m 3s)

video  Searching and Collecting Discussion Board Posts (Flash movie | 2m 15s)

video  Tagging Discussion Board Posts (Flash movie | 2m 42s)

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