What is Discussion Board?

A Discussion board provides a space where users can communicate asynchronously and exchange ideas online.  There can be any number of discussions within a Course Resources (Blackboard) module.  Discussions are organised into ‘forums’ which are the topic areas for a discussion and ‘threads’ which displays the initial post and replies.
They are media-rich spaces and allow students to create and engage with text-based formats, images, video and audio.


Why would I use online discussions with my students?

  • Enhance communication and collaboration by providing an online space that can be accessed at any time and place by students, encouraging group work and a community of practice.
  • Empower students to express their ideas, students have more time to compose their answer and more thoughtfully read and respond to other students compared to face to face communication.  It also gives those students who may feel overwhelmed responding in a large class a place to contribute and share their perspective.
  • Promote peer support, for example allow students to provide feedback to each other on draft assignments or answer each other’s questions relating to a topic discussed during a lecture or from journal articles.
  • Supports the sharing of resources and collaboration in a range of different formats:  text, images, video, audio and the inclusion of citations.
  • Checking of students’ understanding and providing feedback to students on their contributions along with an individual grade, if used for assessment.
  • Discussions can be referred back to over time to review and recall information and understanding.
  • Ideas in using online discussion include:  Discussions on core readings, debates, role play, case analysis, peer review, problem solving, collaborative writing, research bank, FAQs.


How do I use discussion boards with my students?

  • The discussion tool in Course Resources (Blackboard) can be used to create two types of discussions.
  • Module Discussion (all students on the module can contribute)
  • Group Discussion (all students within a group can contribute)


Good Practice

Ideas Factory – Engaging students with reading using online discussion boards


Accessibility Notes

It is important to note the following:

  • Discussion entries can be searched, filtered, collected and then printed.
  • Images may not have alternative text added (unless students have been instructed to provide this).
  • Audio and video may not have transcripts of sound (unless students have been instructed to provide this).
  • Video may not have captions for audio content (unless these have been added to the video before it was posted on the discussion forum).



Just because your discussion board is hidden from students on the website it doesn’t mean that your forums are hidden on the mobile app. If you have forums you don’t want students to see, make each one unavailable in the options for that forum.


Discussion Boards

Create forums

Create threads

Manage discussions

Group discussions