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Blackboard Help


Discussions have been updated in two primary ways: the Thread Detail page has been thoroughly redesigned while maintaining all of its current functionality.  We have also added new functionality to support specific pedagogical needs for the use of discussions: a way for instructors to require students to post first to a forum before they can see other students’ posts. Selected highlights include:

  • All posts on one page - all of the posts in a thread are now visible at the same time on one page. 
  • Role highlighting - posts made my forum managers and moderators now contain the user’s course role and forum role.
  • Inline replies - when replying to a post, the content editor used to write a response appears on the same page, in the context of the discussion.
  • Post First setting - this forum setting allows instructors to require students to post to a discussion before seeing other students’ posts.

The discussions building block is available via software updates and Behind the Blackboard. You have the option of installing and enabling it for your institution’s installation of Blackboard Learn. When enabled, the new discussion board user experience and capabilities are available to end-users, and it replaces the old discussion board.

All discussion forums and threads from the old discussion board show up on the updated discussion board.

How to Install and Activate the Discussions Building Block

You can use Software Updates to install the Discussions building block directly from the System Admin panel. Alternatively, you can visit Behind the Blackboard Downloads and find the Discussions building block, download and install manually.

Note: The Discussions building block is only availble in SP11 and above.

Software Updates

Software Updates is located on the System Admin panel. When a new Building Block is available, or has been updated, you are notified by a change in the icons. Simply click the Featured Building Blocks Available icon and locate the Discussions Building Block. Click Install. You will need to make the Building Block available once it has installed.

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Behind the Blackboard Downloads

Download the Discussions Building Block from Behind the Blackboard Downloads home, located under Featured Building Blocks for Learn. Save the .war file on a local drive.

  1. Navigate to the System Admin panel. Click Building Blocks.
  2. Click Installed Tools.
  3. Click Upload Building Blocks from the action bar.
  4. Browse for the Discussions Building Block .war file.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. You will get a success message when the building block is installed. Set the building block to Active and click Approve.

How to Make the Discussions Building Block Available

Once installed, you must make the Discussions Building Block available in existing courses.

  1. From the System Admin page, click Tools from the Tools and Utilities panel.
  2. Locate Discussions in the list of tools and select Always On for Discussions to turn the tool on for all courses. Select Default On to allow instructors to turn the Discussions on or off in their courses from the Control Panel under Customization > Tool Availability.