Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blackboard Discussion Forums

One way to engage students in content outside of the class is the use of Discussion Boards. Since the features of Blackboard's Discussion Boards differ in some aspects from ANGEL, I would like to offer some resources to become acquainted with the new format.
In addition to these resources, I would like to provide some addition insight and guidance when using Discussion Boards in Blackboard.

Editing the Description of a Discussion Forum and the link to the Discussion Forum

Many instructors put a link to a discussion forum within a module so that the discussion forum is presented with the rest of the course content. Note: if you change the description of the link, this DOES NOT change the description (prompt question) of the discussion forum. You will need to updated both descriptions or do not add a description to the link to the discussion forum. This may cause some confusion for both the instructor and students if not set up correctly.  Also, a link to a discussion forum does not provide the description (prompt question) right after you click on the link. The description (prompt question) is only shown when the student clicks on "Create Thread" button. To get a better idea of this, watch this video.  ~ Windows Media  ~

Recommendation: First, provide a detailed name to a discussion forum (i.e. "DB: Module 1: Topic of Forum") when you create the forum. By doing this, students will be able to navigate the Discussion Board for the particular forum whether they link from within the content or go directly to the Discussion Board link in the left-hand navigation. Next, provide a link within the content to the particular forum (not the entire discussion board) and copy and paste the forum's description (prompt questions) to provide a better experience for the students. This is more work for the instructor to provide the same description in two places. This means updating in two locations also. But, again, this provide a better experience and communication to the students by doing it this way.

As always, if you have any questions about Discussion Boards or Blackboard in general, contact TLT.

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