Brightspace Discussion Boards
Learn how to use and best utilize Brightspace discussion boards in your class!
Some common terms you will encounter:
Forum: This is a heading or category that your discussion topics will live in.
Topic: What you state to be discussed (we will learn how to edit this later).
Thread: Where students post their responses to a topic.
Getting Started with Discussion Boards
Discussion boards are a useful classroom tool for students and instructors to interact in a virtual setting. You can set up discussions in your course by going to the navigation bar in your course and selecting "Discussions". From there, you can create your own discussion boards.
How to Create a Discussion Board
Creating Discussions For Your Courses
Once in the discussions page, to create a new discussion board, first you must select "New Forum." Once you create a forum, you can add specific discussion topics.
Once you are to the forum settings, you can customize your forum to your liking. You can fill in the title, description, and select any options that may be helpful to facilitate in your discussion.
For example, you can moderate the posts more closely or you can require users/students post first before they can respond and reply in a forum. Once you decide on your settings, you can select "Save and Close."
Once you create your forum, you can now begin making your topics. From the same start menu, select "New Topic." Select the form you just created.
Then, you will want to title your discussion board, customize the description, and select any options.
You can allow anonymous posts, make students respond first before they see other student's responses, or moderate the posts as they're submitted.
Group Discussion Boards
Once you decide on the details of your discussion board, you can add it to your forum, which will then "group" your new topics together. In this example, everything will be grouped under "Week 1."
To officially post your topic, click the blue "Save and Close" button, and your topic will be available under your forum.
Once your new topic is posted, you can then view your forum and your new topic under discussions.
Create Group Discussions
In this section, we will go over how to create group discussions so if students are in a workshop, lab, or group project together, they will only be able to view and interact with the discussions from that group.
The first step is to set up designated groups within your course. To get started, select "Other" from the main menu, and select "Groups" from the drop down options. Once in the "Groups" page, select the blue button named "New Category."
Now, you will be able to customize your new category. We recommend doing your new category by project or assignment. For our example, we chose "Group Project."
Next, you will be able to select your "Enrollment Type" and enter the number of groups you would like to create.
In this example, we selected the "# of groups - No auto enrollments." This means you determine the selections as the instructor. A couple tips:
If you would like to manually assign students to groups, choose "# of Groups – No Auto Enrollments."
If you would like Brightspace to automatically assign students to the groups, we recommend choosing either the "Groups of #" or "# of Groups."
After selecting your enrollment type, you can select your group options. Do the following:
If you would like to make the category and group descriptions visible to group members, check off the box under "Groups Options."
Select "Set up discussion areas" under "Create Workspace" and select your forum choice. In this example, we select "Week 1."
If you would like an assignment set up with the discussion, check off "Set up assignments" and select the assignment type.
Once all these are completed, select "Save."
Depending on your selection, Brightspace will automatically assign students to groups or you will have to enroll students into groups.
To add students into groups as the instructor, return to the "Groups" page, select the group you would like to add students to, and select "Enroll Users." You will then be able to search each student and add them to that group individually.
After creating your groups of students, you're now ready to create your group discussion boards!
Go to your "Discussion" page and select the blue button that says "New," and then select "New Topic."
Next, you will want to select the "Forum" you already created. In this example, we are selecting "Week 1."
Under "Topic Type" select the choice "Group or section topic" and select your group you created previously. In this example, it would be "Group Project."
Title and add your description of the new topic. This is what your students will see in their discussion board.
Next, you have the choice to select additional options such as allowing for anonymous posts, having students respond before they can see other posts, and moderator approval. Select "Save and Close" when finished.
When you go back to your discussion page, you will see that a new topic has been added under your selected forum. It will be marked underneath the title with "Group/section restrictions."
Congratulations! You created your first group discussion board for your students!
To view student discussions and responses, click on the title of the topic under the forum. You will then see all the responses to your prompt/topic.
You will be able to see a count for unread, replies, and views for each post. By clicking on the student's title for their response, you can then see other responses to their individual post.
If you would like to respond to as student to give them feedback as their instructor, you can click the "Reply to Thread" button, where you can type a response to engage with the student more personally.
Grading Discussion Boards
When you first begin the process of creating a discussion board, it will automatically take you to the "Properties" section, which was outlined the "How to Create a Discussion Board" section.
To grade a discussion board, you will want to select the "Assessment" tab. Here, you can link your topic to a grade item in the grade center and assign it a point value. You can also add or create a rubric, and allow assessment of individual posts.