Discussion Boards

Blackboard has the ability for Instructors to allow Students to subscribe to discussion board forums or threads.  Should a student subscribe to a forum or thread, that student will receive a notification in their e-mail of each response that has been given to either the entire forum or their individual thread.  This tool can allow students to have more in-depth online conversations about a specific topic by lowering their response time.

Instructors have the ability to allow for subscription on either the forum level or the thread level.  The forum level subscription will send an e-mail for each response that is given to the forum.  This can be useful for group discussions about a specific topic.  The thread level subscriptions is similar to the forum level but on a smaller scale.  This allows the student to receive e-mails about a specific thread within a forum.  Both have their merits and drawbacks.

If the instructor posts questions for the students to answer and wants them to respond to others answers, the thread method of subscription would be more user friendly to the student.  This way they will be able to subscribe to just what answers they want to have conversations about and not have their e-mail account be bogged down with things they may or may not care about.  This option also would be useful for generic discussion areas where the topic may not stay within bounds of a specific topic.

The forum method of subscription is most useful if the forum itself is relatively small in scale, or is meant to be a total class discussion of a specific topic.  A general rule for allowing this would be if there will be a small number of conversations that may arise from a specific topic.

In the end this feature is completely up to the student to use should the instructor decide to allow the use.  Here are the instructions for allowing the use of subscriptions within discussion boards.

Adding a New Forum.

  1. Under Course Management/Control Panel expand Course Tools and select Discussion Board.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 1
  2. Click on the Discussion Board you would like to use.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 2
  3. Click the Create Forum button.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 3
  4. Fill out the sections 1 (Forum Information) and 2 (Forum Availability) to your specifications
  5. Section 3 is Forum Settings.  This area allows for various general options to the forum.  We will only be concerned with the Subscribe area.  Select the radio button that will work best for your vision of how you would like students to interact.  You also have the ability to allow the student to see the post within their e-mail or simply a link back to the post.  Most students prefer to be able to read the body of the post right from their email as opposed to just getting a link.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 4
  6. When the settings are to your liking scroll up or down and click Submit.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 5
  7. Should you choose to allow this access after a forum has been created you can get to the settings page by mousing over the forum and clicking the chevron next to the forum name and selecting Edit.
    Discussion Board Subscription Image 6