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 are an online forum about course concepts. Your instructor may expect you to create your own discussions and participate in existing ones. Your instructor can also grade your contributions.

Your instructor can also create a group discussion for you to discuss a topic with a group of your classmates.

More on group discussions

If your instructor added due dates for graded discussions, you can access discussions from your Grades pages, the calendar, and the activity stream.

From a course, 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.

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

Each time you open a discussion, new responses and replies appear with "New" to show any activity that's happened since your last visit.

More on creating responses and replies

Above the Participants list in the Author section, you can see who created the discussion.


ULTRA: Post a response first

Your instructor may require you to respond to a discussion before you can read other responses and replies. When you "post first," you aren't influenced by your classmates' responses. When you open this type of discussion, a message appears: Post a response to see discussion activity. You can't view discussion activity yet. Responses and replies appear when you post a response.

The Participants list won't show the number of others' responses and replies until you post a response.


ULTRA: Create a discussion

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

More about deleting your discussions, responses, and replies

If allowed by your instructor, 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 in the upper-right corner to open the menu. If the plus sign doesn't appear, you aren't allowed to create discussions.
  3. In the menu, select Add Discussion. Your discussion appears at the top of the list. Only your instructor can move it in the list or add it to a folder.
  4. On the New Discussion page, type a meaningful title. Choose your discussion title carefully. After you move your cursor off the title line, the discussion title saves. Only your instructor can edit the title.
  5. Get the discussion started with a question, idea, or response. 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.

  6. Select Save.

On the main Discussions page, your discussion title appears with the label Student Created.

When course members open your discussion, you're listed as the author in the side panel.

You may edit or delete your own posts and may delete your own discussions if no one has responded.