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Blackboard Help

Group Discussions

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

If your course uses groups to encourage students to collaborate on course work, you can also include links to group tools to help them 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. Members of a group can create and manage their own forums.

Example: 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 brainstorm and discuss topic choices. They can also use their group discussion boards to post web links, and 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.

Enable group discussions

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Ultra" help about creating group discussions.

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

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

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

Disable group discussions

You can't delete a group discussion board without deleting the group, but you can make the tool unavailable. Existing posts are not removed—just made unavailable to group members.

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, select Edit in the group's menu.
  3. On the Edit Group page, clear the check box for Discussion Board in the Tool Availability section.
  4. Select Submit.

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

Edit settings for group discussions

By default, each new group discussion board uses the group's name as the title. You and all assigned group members 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. Unlike other graded group activities, when you set a group discussion board to graded, each member is graded independently of other group members. Each group member must make the designated number of posts to earn his or her own grade. You don't assign a group grade for contributions to the group discussion board.

  1. On your course's 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. Select a group discussion board.
  3. On the next Discussion Board page, select Edit in the forum's menu.
  4. On the Edit Forum page, you can edit all settings, including the name and description, which appears in the Description column on the group discussion board page. You can edit the forum availability and enable grading for the forum or threads.

You or any group member can create more forums in a group discussion board.

ULTRA: Create a group discussion

Doesn't seem familiar? Jump to the "Original" help about enabling group discussions.

When you create a discussion, you can assign groups to focus the conversation. You may want to use discussion groups to help students feel more comfortable conversing in a course, since there are fewer people involved. Group discussions can also help students feel more free to speak their minds.

You can assign groups in a discussion in the Discussion Settings. Select the gear icon and then Make discussion groups. You're brought to the Create Groups page.

Group discussions can't be graded. If you want to grade the discussion, you'll have to remove the groups from the discussion, save it, and then reopen the discussion settings. You can align goals with a group discussion.

Students are automatically grouped when you get to the Create Groups page, but you can change how groups are formed:

  • Randomly Assign: Students are randomly assigned to the number of groups you want to create. Choose how many groups to create in the Number of Groups menu. The system distributes students equally among the number of groups you create.
  • Custom: You can create as many groups as you want, with any number of students in each group. You can also create new groups or remove groups based on how many you want for this discussion. The setting changes to Custom if you move students to different groups after they are grouped automatically or with random assign.
  • Reuse working groups: Want to reuse groups from a previous assignment or discussion? Choose an item name to apply those groupings to the new discussion.

You can move students between groups without affecting the previous item's groupings. The only groups that change are those contained in the current discussion.

To name the groups, select the group title to edit.

Move students between groups

You can move a student from one group to another on the Create Groups page. Select the ellipsis icon next to a name to access these options:

  • Start a new group for this student.
  • To assign the student to a different group that already exists, select the group's name in the list.
  • Select Unassign to remove the student from the group.

You can also move multiple students to a different group or create a new group for them.

Select multiple students

To save time, you can select more than one student and change their group. You can select multiple students and move them if they're all in the same group or all unassigned.

  1. Select each student's name to select them at the same time. The selected students' names are highlighted with a purple border.
  2. Select a student's name again to remove the selection.
  3. After you select the students, select the ellipsis icon next to one of their names to access the options. You can start a new group, move them to an existing group, or remove them from a group.

Delete a group

To delete a group, point to the group, select the trash can icon, and select Delete. The students in that group are automatically unassigned and the Group Students setting is set to Custom.

You can manually assign these students to new groups. Or, select Randomly Assign to automatically assign students evenly among the new number of groups.

View a group discussion

When you view a discussion, you can choose which group's responses to display on the screen. Select a group name to see their discussion contributions.