Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Discussion Board Features in Blackboard

The discussion boards in Blackboard have been revamped for SP11 (the new version we're upgrading to on June 7 & 8).

Post-First Discussion Forums

The most useful of new feature in the discussion board is that now you can force students to post their own thread before they can read other student's threads. This is useful if you want students to post original responses without being influenced by what others in the class are posting.

You can make this setting when creating or editing a forum by clicking "Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum."

When a student goes to a forum that has this setting, they will see this:

After they click the "Create Thread" button they will see this:

One of the best things they've done is add the forum description to the create thread page, so it's clear to students what you want them to do while they're writing their post. 

Thread Displays

The way threads display is completely changed in the new version. All posts in a thread are visible on the same page. Instructor posts are easy to spot because they've added a little lavender "INSTRUCTOR" sign next to the instructor name in this view. Everyone can now see the student avatars next to each post. Posts can be collapsed and expanded as needed to view this page.


You can encourage your students to add their picture to Blackboard by following these steps.

  1. Click the global navigation menu (your name in the upper right corner of the page)
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Personal Information
  4. Click Personalize My Settings
  5. Click the Browse My Computer button to look for a picture on your computer that is 150 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall. If you need to crop or resize a picture to get one this size, try before taking this step.
  6. While you're on this page, you might as well fill out part 2 to show only courses visited in the last 150 days or whatever span of time works best for you.
  7. Click Submit

Or watch this video at

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