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Blackboard Help

Creating Group Discussions

You can create formal groups of students to collaborate on course work, and provide each group with its own group area. You can include links to group tools to help students collaborate and communicate. For example, you can create a special group discussion board, available only to the members of a course group.

Group discussion boards are separate from the regular course discussion board, which is available to all course members. Members of a group can create and manage their own forums. To learn about creating course groups, see Creating Groups.


You assign students to groups, providing each group with a problem or situation to explore and develop into a class presentation. The groups can use the chat tool and their group discussion boards to come to a consensus about topic choices. They can also use their group discussion boards to post internet source links, and then members can post replies on their value. Also, they can use the group discussion board to divide up tasks and refine the outline. Members post portions of the presentation, and all members post replies regarding usefulness, grammar, flow, and for agreement on the final product.

Your school controls whether this tool is available. If it is not available, you can contact your school to discuss its status.

How to Enable the Group Discussion Board Tool

When you create a course group, select the discussion board tool to help groups collaborate and communicate.

  1. On the Create Group page, in the Tool Availability section, select the check box for Discussion Board.
  2. Click Submit.

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The Group Discussion Board tool appears in the My Groups section and on the group homepage.

Students access their group discussion boards by expanding the My Groups course menu or on the group homepage. Students click the right-pointing arrows in the My Groups section to access the group homepage.

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How to Make a Group Discussion Board Unavailable

You cannot delete a group discussion board without deleting the group, but you can make the tool unavailable. Any existing posts are not removed—just made unavailable until you make the group discussion board available again.

When you make a graded group discussion board unavailable, the grade column associated with that group discussion board remains in the Grade Center.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Users and Groups section and select Groups.
  2. Change Edit Mode to ON. On the Groups page, access the group's contextual menu.
  3. Select Edit.
  4. On the Edit Group page, in the Tool Availability section, clear the check box for Discussion Board.
  5. Click Submit.

When members access their group homepage or the My Groups section, the link to the group discussion board no longer appears. You may make the tool available again at any time.

How to Edit the Settings for a Group Discussion Board

Each new group discussion board contains a default forum titled with the group's name. You and all assigned group member can edit the forum name and provide a description.

If you want to grade participation in a group discussion board, you can edit a forum's settings and enable grading in the forum or threads.

  1. On the Control Panel, expand the Course Tools section and select Discussion Board.
  2. On the Discussion Board page, the course discussion board and all group discussion boards appear. Click a group discussion board link.

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  3. On the next Discussion Board page, access the forum's contextual menu.
  4. Select Edit.
  5. On the Edit Forum page, change the Name, provide a Description, and edit the Forum Availability and Forum Settings. If you want to grade the group's posts, you can enable grading for the forum or threads and type the Points possible.

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If you provided a description, it appears in the Description column on the group discussion board page.

You or any group member can create more forums. To learn about creating forums, see Creating Forums in the Discussion Board.