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BB 9.1 Online Workshop: Discussion Board
Online Learning Modules


Getting students to engage in online discussions in a meaningful and timely manner may seem daunting - particularly in courses with large enrollments. But with clear student guidenlines, and a firm understanding of the tools, online discussions can be engaging and effective without burdening faculty workload.


After completing this module, the learner will be able to:

  • Add the Discussion Board tool to the course
  • Create a forum
    • Add a forum description
    • Set the forum availability
    • Edit the forum settings
  • Change order of forum listings
  • Create a thread
  • Read and collect messages
  • Reply to messages
  • Manage threads and forums
    • Flag messages
    • Lock and unlock threads
    • Hide and publish threads
    • Subscribe and unsubscribe to threads
    • Delete forums, threads and messages
  • Manage forum roles
  • Grade forums and threads
Learning Activities

Read the quick reference guide and view the tutorials below for detailed instructions:

It's Your Turn!

It's your turn! Try the following activities in your course:

  1. Add the Discussion Board tool to your course.
  2. Create a practice forum.
  3. Create a thread within the forum, complete with a description and an attachment.
  4. Once you have created a thread, read the initial post and reply to it.
  5. Practice using the buttons and contextual menus to flag messages, lock and unlock threads, and hide/publish threads.
  6. Subscribe to a thread.
  7. Using your Student View account, practice grading a discussion forum or thread.
  8. Use your practice forum to view the forum roles.
  9. When you are finished, delete the practice forum from your course.
Best Practices in Higher Education
  • Create an online learning community in your course by implementing large and small group discussions.
  • Use the Discussion Board frequently as a tool to encourage student reflection and comment with regard to the critical questions of each learning module or topic.
  • Take an active role in moderating discussions and provide timely feedback.
  • Outline explicit discussion guidelines for students at the beginning of the term:
    • Who will facilitate discussions?
    • How will discussions be facilitated?
      • How often and when are learners expected to respond to discussion posts?
      • How often and when are learners expected to engage with their peers?
    • How will students be graded?
    • What comprises a quality post?
    • What comprises proper Netiquette?
  • Use a rubric to communicate expectations regarding the breadth, quality and framework of posts.
  • Remember: once a discussion post or thread has been deleted from the course site, you will not be able to retrieve it. Consider leaving all discussion messages intact for the remainder of the term so that a record of all communication stays with the course archive.

Awell-structured discussion can effectively engage learners in online, blended and web-assisted courses. Used asynchronously, the Discussion Board tool can be used to assess learners, encourage critical thinking and collaboration, and build online learning communities in your course.

Questions or ideas? Join the discussion at:
© 2010, The University of Toledo. A UT Learning Ventures Publication.
Last Updated: 6/26/15