Discussion Boards: Using Them Effectively

Online discussion boards are often considered more effective for learning than in-class discussion because:

Every student is required to participate

Every student is required to interact with a classmate

Students have more time to present their ideas and answers in a thoughtful manner

Discussions are not dominated by the loudest or most extroverted students

Students are not intimidated by speaking out publicly

Well-developed discussion boards promote critical thinking

Discussion boards in Blackboard provide:

A way to get to know your students and for them to get to know each other

A place to interact with individual students

A place for students to engage with each other

An active learning activity

An opportunity for students to answer questions thoughtfully

A forum for online debate

A place for students to share material with you and each other

A place for active student group work to happen

Discussion boards are most effective when:

Used as graded assignments

There is a minimum word count

Students are required to respond to at least one classmate’s posting (also with a minimum word count)

Students are required to use proper spelling, grammar, and cite sources

Discussion forum questions require that each student’s posting will be unique, so not all students will be posting the identical answers

The instructor provides an example of a typical discussion board post

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