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Blackboard Help

Manage Discussions

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on managing discussions.

You can perform tasks to manage both the discussion board itself and the content within forums and threads. For example, to keep students focused as the term progresses, edit forum settings or organize forums and threads to attract attention again. You can also add forums to other locations, edit content, and delete unneeded forums or threads. To help students locate important posts, you can enable tagging and attach tags.

You can assign forum roles to limit access to a forum or to help with forum administration. For example, to help control the discussion board content that is presented to your students, you can assign a responsible user the role of moderator. 

You can make some simple changes to help you successfully manage your discussion board content.

A discussion forum has been available for two weeks with few contributions. What changes can I make to the forum to encourage participation?

You can make two changes:

  • If the topic is potentially controversial, allow anonymous posts.
  • If you are not grading threads, allow students to create new threads. This flexibility may encourage students to post their ideas and questions.

By the end of the semester, my discussion board contains dozens of forums. What can I do to provide better organization and flow?

To keep your discussion board organized, you can perform the following actions:

  • Change the order of the forums, placing the most current forums at the top of the list.
  • Delete ungraded forums that were not used or contain few postings.

How to Edit Forums

As the discussion progresses, you can solve some discussion issues by editing forum settings. For example, if students are posting to the wrong topic, you can fine-tune the forum name or description to clarify the forum's purpose.

You can create all forums at the beginning of the term and make them unavailable. When you need a forum, edit the forum to make it available.

  1. Access a forum's contextual menu and click Edit.
  2. On the Edit Forum page, change the forum's name, description, availability, and settings. 
  3. Click Submit.

How to Edit Threads

You can edit posts in any thread. If a student added inappropriate or inaccurate content, you can edit the post. When you create or edit a forum, you determine whether students are allowed to edit their published posts.

  1. Access a forum and select a thread.
  2. On the thread's page, point to a post so all of the functions appear and click Edit.

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  3. The page expands to allow you to make edits in the content editor while viewing the original post.

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  4. Click Submit. Your edits appear in the post.

How to Delete Forums and Threads

When you delete a forum or thread, all content is permanently deleted. You will not be able to refer to the posts if a student wants to dispute a grade. For a less permanent solution, you can make a forum unavailable.

When you delete graded discussion content, you determine if the Grade Center column and scores are also deleted.

  1. Access a forum or thread's contextual menu and click Delete to permanently delete the forum or thread's content.
  2. Click OK in the pop-up window.
  3. On the Delete Confirmation page, you have two options:
    • Do not select check boxes: The graded forum or thread will be deleted, but the Grade Center column and scores you assigned are retained. For example, you graded all students' posts and want to keep the Grade Center column for the final grade calculations. If you delete the forum or thread, yet retain the Grade Center column, you can delete that column from the Grade Center at any time.
    • Select the check boxes: The grade column in the Grade Center and the forum or thread are deleted. For example, if you do not want to include the grade column for the discussion posts in the final grade, you can safely delete both.
  4. Click Remove.

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Delete Individual Posts

On a thread’s page, you can delete individual posts within a thread using the Delete function. This action is irreversible. Any replies to the post you are deleting will also be permanently deleted.

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How to Reorder Forums

You can help students focus on the most relevant content by reorganizing your discussion board. When you create a forum, it is added to the bottom of the list. You can move the current forum to the top or delete forums that are no longer relevant.

Reorder forums using the drag-and-drop function to move them into place. Alternatively, use the keyboard accessible reordering tool on the action bar.

Drag-and-Drop Function

  1. Access the discussion board and press the arrows next to a forum you want to move. The item is highlighted.
  2. Drag the forum into a new location in the list.
  3. Release the forum to place it in its new location.

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Keyboard Accessible Reordering Tool

  1. On the action bar, click the keyboard accessible reordering icon represented by two arrows.
  2. In the Reorder box, click a forum title.
  3. Below the Reorder box, use the up and down arrows to adjust the order.
  4. Click Submit. A pop-up box states: Items have been reordered.

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  5. Click OK.

How to Copy Forums

You can copy discussion forums and add them to the current discussion board or to a group discussion board in the same course. Copying does not delete the content from the original location in a course. You have the option to copy a forum, the settings, and the posts, or to copy just a forum's settings.

To copy discussion board forums to another course, use the copy course utility.

Example: Copy the entire forum

If two distinct topics emerge during a discussion, you can create separate forums for these topics. Copy the forum and delete the off-topic posts from each forum.

When you copy content, all threads and replies appear in the new location, along with any file attachments.

Example: Copy forum settings only

You can base a new forum on the settings from another forum. If you want students to submit a second research paper, copy the settings of the first research paper's forum. The forum is added with no threads.

  1. Access a forum's contextual menu and click Copy.

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  2. On the Copy Forum page, type a Name.
  3. Click the option to copy either: Entire forum or Forum settings only.
  4. In the Location box, select a discussion board to copy to. To select the course's discussion board, click the course ID.
  5. Click Submit. On the Discussion Board page, the copied forum is added to the bottom of the list.

Discussion forums you copy to a group discussion board only include messages authored by the group’s members.

To Learn More

To learn more about assigning a moderator, see Moderate Discussions.

To learn about disabling the grading setting, see How to Disable Discussion Grading.

To learn how to copy discussion board forums to another course using the copy course utility, see Copy Courses.