In discussions, you can share thoughts and ideas about class materials. In Blackboard Learn, course members can have the thoughtful discussions that take place in the traditional classroom, but with the advantages of asynchronous communication. Participants don't need to be in the same location or time zone, and you can take the time to consider your responses carefully.

You can use discussions for these tasks:

  • Meet with your peers for collaboration and social interaction.
  • Pose questions about homework assignments, readings, and course content.
  • Demonstrate your understanding or application of course material.

Watch a video about discussions

The following narrated video provides a visual and auditory representation of some of the information included on this page. For a detailed description of what is portrayed in the video, open the video on YouTube, navigate to More actions, and select Open transcript.

Video: Use discussions explains how to use discussions in the Original course view.


  1. Find the discussion board in two places:
    • On the course menu, select Discussions.
    • On the course menu, select Tools and thenDiscussion Board.
  2. The main Discussion Board page appears with a list of available discussion forums. On this page, you can perform these actions:
    1. Select a forum title to view the messages. Forum titles in bold contain unread posts.
    2. Select a forum to open the thread of posts.
    3. Select the number in the Unread Posts column for quick access to a forum's unread messages.

More on creating a reply

Course groups can have their own discussion boards. Group discussion boards are available only to users who are members of the group. If a group discussion board is available, you can find it in the groups link on the course menu or in the My Groups area.

More on opening discussions with JAWS®

You can edit or delete your replies if allowed by your instructor. If you post a reply in error and the options to edit or delete don't appear, contact your instructor.



You can control which threads you see in a forum. If you allow, students could edit and delete their replies.

Filter a list of threads

You decide if a thread is published, hidden, or a draft. If you can see a thread, you can choose which type of threads appear in a forum. Published threads appear by default.

  1. On the forum page, select List View.
  2. In the Display menu, select the type of threads to view in the forum.
    • Show All: Displays all threads in the forum.
    • Published Only: Displays threads with a published status.
    • Hidden Only: Displays threads that are locked and not visible by default. You may choose to display hidden threads in list view. You can't edit hidden threads. You may want to hide irrelevant threads to help keep relevant content in view.
    • Draft Only: Displays draft threads that were saved by the author for future editing, but not submitted for publication. When published, other users can view it. You can only view your own drafts.

      Select Draft Only from this list to open, edit, and publish your saved drafts.

Edit or delete replies

You can edit or delete your replies if allowed by your instructor. If you post a reply in error and the options to edit or delete don't appear, contact your instructor.

  1. Open a thread in a forum.
  2. On the thread's page, point to a post to view the available functions.
  3. Select Edit or Delete. The delete action is irreversible.
    • If you're allowed to delete your post with replies, all posts are permanently deleted.
  4. When you edit, the page expands so that you can make edits in the editor while you view the original post.
  5. Select Submit. Your edits appear in the post.

Search discussions
  1. Go to the discussion board, a forum, or a thread and select Search.
  2. Type your search word or phrase in the Search box.
  3. In the list, select an area to search:
    • Current Discussion Board
    • All Forums in Course
    • Current Forum
    • Current Thread

      The options are based on where your search began. Users don't see results from group discussion boards unless they're members of that group.

  4. To further narrow your search results, select the After and Before check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Type dates and times in the boxes or use the Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times.
  5. Select Go.

On the Search Results page, you can browse and read the results. Select Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. You can filter and sort posts using the Filterfunction and the Sort By and Order options.

On this page, you can also reply to posts and mark posts read or unread. To view the post in context, with any responses, select the post's hyperlinked title to navigate to the thread's page.

More on how to reply to a discussion post

Collect posts

If a thread contains many posts, you can reduce the list with the Collect function. After you collect posts, you can filter, sort, print, and tag them. You can also use the Collect function on the forum page to gather all the posts made to different threads.

  1. In a forum, open a thread.
  2. Select the check boxes next to the posts you want to collect. If a post has replies and you want them to appear on a collection page, select the check boxes for those posts as well.
  3. At the top of the list, access the Message Actions menu and select Collect.

Want to select all but a few posts in a long list in a thread? Use Select: All and then clear the check boxes for the posts you don't need.

Filter and sort posts

To narrow your search results or sort a collection, you can use the filter and sort functions. If you print the posts after you filter or sort, they print in the order they appear on the page.

If the authors of some posts are no longer enrolled in your course, the posts may appear out of order.

Filter posts

  1. To filter posts on the Search Results or Collection page, select the Filter function to expand the field. Select options from the lists:
    • Author: Select All or select an author.
    • Status: Show All or select a status.
    • Read Status: Select Show All, Read, or Unread posts.
    • Tags: Show All Tags or select a tag. You need to enable the tag function at the forum level for this filter option to appear.
  2. Select Go to apply the selections. You can further organize the results with the Sort By and Order options.
  3. Select the X to close the Filter field.

Sort posts

  1. To sort posts on the Search Results or Collection page, access the Sort by menu.
  2. Select an option from the list:
    • Author's Last Name
    • Author's First Name
    • Subject
    • Date of Last Post
    • Thread Order

      If you enabled the rating of posts, you can also sort by Overall Rating.

  3. Access the Order menu and sort posts in ascending or descending order.

Tag threads

Tags are text labels that act like bookmarks. You can tag posts to group similar messages together. For example, if the subject of scientific notation is discussed often, tag each of the posts on this topic. Students can filter and search posts with these tags, but they can't create tags.

In a forum's settings, you must enable Allow Post Tagging so that you can create tags.

  1. Open the forum that contains the threads you want to tag.
  2. In List View, select the check boxes for the thread or threads to tag. Use the check box in the header row to select all the threads in a forum.
  3. At the top of the list, select Collect.
  4. On the Collection page, you can filter and sort your results.
  5. Type a tag name in the Tag Text box.
  6. Select the check boxes of the posts to assign the tag to. To select all the posts, choose Select: All above the list.
  7. Select Add next to the Tag Text box.

You can disable post tagging when forum usage is heavy so that the discussion board loads faster. When you enable tagging again, all tags are restored.

Where tags appear

On the Collection page, the tag you provided appears below each post you selected. If you provide multiple tags, all appear. To delete a tag, select the red X next to it.

You can also add a tag to an individual post. Below the post, type the tag in the Add Tag box and select OK or select Choose from Existing to choose a tag from a list of tags that appear on the Collection page.

On the forum page, all tags appear in the Tags column, which is only visible in List View. To filter the list of threads by a tag, select Tags and choose a tag to display or Show All Tags. After you make a selection, only the threads with the chosen tag appear on the forum page. You can also filter the list by selecting a tag in the Tags column.


Grading a Discussion Board Forum

1. Click Discussion Board in the course menu

2. Click on the Discussion Board forum to grade

3. Click on Grade Discussion Forum

4. Determine the student you would like to grade, and click on the Grade button

5. After reading the student’s original post and comments on the page, click in the Grade box. 6. If a rubric has been used, click the Rubric Title

7. Grade according to level of accomplishment for each category. The total score will be automatically tabulated. Click Save Rubric

8. If appropriate, enter comments to the student under Feedback

9. If appropriate, enter notes under Grading Notes (notes can only be seen by the course instructor)

10. Click the Submit button

11. To grade the next contributor, either click on the forward/backward button at the top of the grading panel, or select the name of another contributor. Otherwise, click the OK button