Discussion Board

Follow these steps to start a thread:

  1. Open a Discussion Board Forum. 
  2. Click Create Thread in the action bar. The Create Thread page appears.
  3. Enter a Subject and a Message. It is also possible to attach files to the post.
  4. Click Save Draft to store a draft of the post. Click Submit to create the thread.

Watch a video! 
Creating a New Discussion Board Thread (1:37)

Read any prompts carefully.

A prompt is the assignment to which you are responding. In some cases, the prompt will be posted as the start of a thread in the discussion forum. In others, the prompt will be listed under "Assignments." In either case, read the prompt carefully. Make sure that you understand everything that it requires before you start to respond. If you have questions, ask for a clarification from your instructor, or at least let others know what you are unsure about in your posting.

Post something that shows thought.

One of the great things about discussion forum communication is that you can think before you respond. Discussion forum prompts are almost always open-ended questions, so even if it seems that the assignment only needs a short answer, assume that you should provide some explanation or narrative about that answer. The challenge is to do this without getting too long-winded!

Include examples and supportive arguments, not just opinions.

Discussion forums are not just a place to put opinions and feelings. You should also include specific examples, statistics, quotes, and other support materials. On the other hand, you are encouraged to include your opinions too. These will make all of the details more interesting!

Cite your sources.

It's okay if you borrow ideas from your readings or conversations, but you should attribute these ideas to their source. You can give the official citation of reading material (online or in print) or simply attribute ideas from your classmates. For instance, "In her posting, Shelly said ... That made me wonder about ..."

Post your response early in the assignment period.

If you wait until the assignment due date, others will not have a chance to respond to what you have said. Your instructor will not have as much time to notice or think about your posting, and a lower score may result. Post your first message early in the assignment period, then return later and respond to others. You'll get more out of the experience and get a better grade.

Follow these steps to reply to a post.

  1. Open a thread in a Forum.
  2. Find a post.
  3. Click Reply for that post.
  4. Enter a Subject (if different than the default) and a Message. It is also possible to attach files to the post. Only one file can be added using the Attachment function below the text box. When using the Text Editor, multiple files may be added.
  5. Click Save Draft to store a draft of the post. Click Submit to create the thread.
  6. The post appears in the thread underneath the original post.

Watch a video!
Replying to a Discussion Board Thread (1:44)

Don't agree with everything.

"Good idea!," "I agree," or "I think the same thing" are not worthwhile responses. They don't add to the conversation. If you do agree with the poster, then try to add another example or clarify the point more. It's OK to have a different opinion. On the other hand...

Replies should be useful.

A good reply will give everyone following along more to think about. If it is critical, the critique will be specific, clear, and point toward possible improvements. Often, asking more questions is the best sort of reply. A good reply will encourage the poster to respond again. Hopefully, they will look forward to more interactions with you in the future.

Attack arguments, but don't attack people.

Don't get personal in a discussion forum. At the worst, be generous and assume that it is the person's idea that you don't like, not the person. Attacks (against the person) will lose friends and participation points for you. So will racist, sexist, ageist, and other bigoted comments. So will profanity and obscenity. Let's stay civil!

If you encounter difficulties or the argument gets too hot, let your instructor know.

Your instructor will be checking the forum regularly, but may miss a critical posting. If someone posts something that upsets you, talk to your instructor about it. In some cases, he or she might help clear up misunderstandings, or if necessary, delete an offensive message from the discourse.