What Does the Discussion Tool Offer?

Conversation and Dialogue

  • A versatile way to add collaboration into your online class or into an online component of your hybrid or seated class
  • Collaboration between student and student or instructor and student
  • A means of introducing student ideas or feedback into the class
  • A forum for student comments or critiques on course materials

What Are the Best Use Cases?

  • Discussion of open-ended questions or topics
  • Providing a forum for students to ask questions
  • Requiring students to contribute outside information or content to be shared with the class
  • Any time it is beneficial to incorporate dialogue between students
  • Graded discussions where you want to assess original posts by a student and their responses to others

Tips for Effective Discussion

1.  Use Open-Ended Questions or Topics

  • Participation increases when students feel their unique perspective is sought
  • Open-ended discussions are less likely to result in the unproductive repetition of ideas 
  • Emphasize continued dialogue about ideas or content
  • The goal is to have a conversation, not find the one "right" answer

2.  Establish the Discussion Area as a Safe Environment

  • Encourage different approaches or perspectives on the topic
  • Promote constructive disagreement
  • Remind students that no one - not even the instructor - has all the right answers

3.  Make Students Equal Participants in their Own Learning

  • Provide guidelines for students to frame productive questions 
  • Encourage students to ask each other questions to extend the conversation
  • Encourage students to bring their prior knowledge or experience to the discussion
  • Assign student discussion leaders and have leaders pose some of the questions or topics

4.  Design Relevant Discussions

  • Students will be able to tell if the discussion is busy work
  • Ask yourself, "how will this discussion further the students' learning experience?"
  • Have students post their questions about the content to the discussion: see if other students can answer these questions (or if the student can answer their own!)    

5.  Remember Your Role

  • Research has shown that students feel more comfortable and get more out of interactions with other students
  • Whenever appropriate, limit your participation to:
    • Asking follow-up questions
    • Asking students to expand on or clarify prior posts
    • Highlighting high-quality posts as models
  • Of course, if a student is posting definitively erroneous information, feel free to step in and redirect, clarify, or ask them to correct their statement

How to Create a Discussion Board Assignment

Learn how to create and manage discussion boards in Blackboard.  This article from Blackboard contains screen shots and a video to fully demonstrate the use of this tool.


Article ID: 84883
Wed 8/14/19 10:57 AM
Mon 3/9/20 3:01 PM