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Blackboard Help

Search and Collect Discussions

Your institution controls which tools are available in the Original Course View. Discussions are always available to instructors in the Ultra Course View.

In discussions, you can search for specific text, such as a phrase, word, or part of a word.

Search discussions

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about searching a discussion.

  1. Go to the discussion board, a forum, or a thread and select Search.
  2. Type your search query, such as a word or phrase, in the Search box.
  3. In the list, select an area to search:
    • Current Discussion Board
    • All Forums in Course
    • Current Forum
    • Current Thread

      The options are based on where your search began. Users don't see results from group discussion boards unless they're members of that group.

  4. To further narrow your search results, select the After and Before check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Type dates and times in the boxes or use the Date Selection Calendar and Time Selection Menu to select dates and times.
  5. Select Go.

On the Search Results page, you can browse and read the results. Select Print Preview to open the page in a new window in a printer-friendly format. Posts print in the order they appear on the page. You can filter and sort posts using the Filter function and the Sort By and Order options.

On this page, you can also reply to posts and mark posts read or unread. To view the post in context, with any responses, select the post's hyperlinked title to navigate to the thread's page.

More on how to reply to a discussion post

Collect posts

If a thread contains many posts, you can reduce the list with the Collect function. After you collect posts, you can filter, sort, print, and tag them. You can also use the Collect function on the forum page to gather all the posts made to different threads.

  1. In a forum, open a thread.
  2. Select the check boxes next to the posts you want to collect. If a post has replies and you want them to appear on a collection page, select the check boxes for those posts as well.
  3. At the top of the list, access the Message Actions menu and select Collect.

Want to select all but a few posts in a long list in a thread? Use Select: All and then clear the check boxes for the posts you don't need.

Filter and sort posts

To narrow your search results or sort a collection, you can use the filter and sort functions. If you print the posts after you filter or sort, they print in the order they appear on the page.

If the authors of some posts are no longer enrolled in your course, the posts may appear out of order.


  1. To filter posts on the Search Results or Collection page, select the Filter function to expand the field. Select options from the lists:
    • Author: Select All or select an author.
    • Status: Show All or select a status.
    • Read Status: Select Show All, Read, or Unread posts.
    • Tags: Show All tags or select a tag. You need to enable the tag function at the forum level for this filter option to appear.
  2. Select Go to apply the selections. You can further organize the results with the Sort By and Order options.
  3. Select the X to close the Filter field.


  1. To sort posts on the Search Results or Collection page, access the Sort by menu.
  2. Select an option from the list:
    • Author's Last Name
    • Author's First Name
    • Subject
    • Date of Last Post
    • Thread Order

      If you enabled the rating of posts, you can also sort by Overall Rating.

  3. Access the Order menu and sort posts in ascending or descending order.

Tag threads

Tags are text labels that act like bookmarks. You can tag posts to group similar messages together. For example, if the subject of scientific notation is discussed often, tag each of the posts on this topic. Students can filter and search posts with these tags, but they can't create tags.

In a forum's settings, you must enable Allow Post Tagging so that you can create tags.

  1. Open the forum that contains the threads you want to tag.
  2. In List View, select the check boxes for the thread or threads to tag. Use the check box in the header row to select all the threads in a forum.
  3. At the top of the list, select Collect.
  4. On the Collection page, you can filter and sort your results.
  5. Type a tag name in the Tag Text box.
  6. Select the check boxes of the posts to assign the tag name to. To select all the posts, choose Select: All above the list.
  7. Select Add next to the Tag Text box.

You can disable post tagging when forum usage is heavy so that the discussion board loads faster. When you enable tagging again, all tags are restored.

Where tags appear

On the Collection page, the tag you provided appears below each post you selected. If you provide multiple tags, all appear. To delete a tag, select the red X next to it.

You can also add a tag to an individual post. Below the post, type the tag in the Add Tag box and select OK or select Choose from Existing to choose a tag from a list of tags that appear on the Collection page.

On the forum page, all tags appear in the Tags column, which is only visible in List View. To filter the list of threads by a tag, select Tags and choose a tag to display or Show All Tags. After you make a selection, only the threads with the chosen tag appear on the forum page. You can also filter the list by selecting a tag in the Tags column.

ULTRA: Search a discussion

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about searching a discussion.

You don't have to search through all of the discussions in a course to find the one you need. Go to the discussion and expand the Participants section to view who has contributed or search for a participant. Select participants' names to see a list of their posts.