Creating a Discussion Forum

Forums are used to organize discussions and may be added or modified by accessing the appropriate Discussion Board page. While you are the only one who can create a new forum, you can enable other users in your course to manage a forum once it is created. Forums have many different settings that affect how users interact with the forums. Forum postings can be graded if desired. When a forum is set to be graded, a column in the grade center is automatically created.

To add a discussion forum to a Backboard course:

  1. Login to your course.
  2. Make sure the Edit Mode is ON.

    Edit Mode
  3. Click on Discussion Board in the course menu.

    Discussion Board link in the Course Menu
  4. Click Create Forum.

    Create Forum button
  5. Complete the Discussion Board page.

    Forum Information

    • Enter the name of the forum.
    • Enter a description of the forum in the text box.

    Forum Availability

    • Leave the date and time restrictions boxes empty if you want the forum to be available to students throughout the semester. Selecting "Display After" and "Display Until" will restrict dates of availability to the dates and times you set.

    Forum Settings

    Adjust forum settings to meet your preferences: 

    • Allow Anonymous Posts: If this feature is turned off course participants are identified by their username whenever they post a reply. It is generally a bad idea to turn on this option since there is no way for the instructor to determine who made an objectionable post. If this feature is enabled, the forum cannot be graded.
    • Allow Author to Delete Own Posts: Allowing an author to remove their own posts can disrupt the flow of conversation and create he-said-she-said situations. Also generally a bad idea to enable.
    • Allow Author to Edit Own Published Posts: Similar to allow author to remove. Because a post could be edited down to being blank, this also requires consideration before being enabled.
    • Allow Post Tagging: Tagging is a way to add metadata to posts to make them easier to retrieve in searches. For example, students could search a forum purely for posts made that have been tagged by their professor as being related to "philosophy" or "post-colonialism," and so on.
    • Allow Users to Reply with Quote: Allows course participants to automatically include the text of the original post in their responses.
    • Allow File Attachments: This setting is enabled by default and allows for sharing files with anyone who has access to the discussion board. For example, a discussion board could be created to distribute final project results among members of a course.
    • Allow Members to Create New Threads: This setting is enabled by default. Threads are the next lower level of hierarchy in a discussion board below the forum. A forum can have multiple threads. Allow members to create new threads lets students create their own sub-navigation inside of the forum. Generally, the purpose of the forum will dictate whether or not users can start threads. A moderated, graded forum used to evaluate student performance will usually be tightly controlled. In this case, it would not be appropriate to allow users to create threads. Other forums are designed for users to share opinions and thoughts on tangential or unrelated topics. In this case, it is safe to allow users to create threads and spark discussions.
    • Subscribe: Subscriptions to threads and forums are sent to users by email. Once a subscription option is selected users can select:
      - Include body of Post in the Email
      - Include Link to Post
    • Allow Members to Rate Posts: Course participants can rate the quality of posts using a five star system.
    • Force Moderation of Posts: This requires all messages to be reviewed by a moderator before they can be published to the forum.
    • Grade: Discussion posts can be graded in two different ways: students can have their overall participation in a forum graded or  they can be graded on a thread-by-thread basis. Enabling grading will cause an entry for the forum or thread to be created in the grade book. Grading for students happens directly in the discussion board. If threads are graded, members will not be allowed to create new threads.

    Discussion Board page

  6. After you have made your selections, click Submit. The forum will be created and appear at the bottom of the Discussion Board page.
  7. To update the forum, click on the Options menu button to the right of the forum title and choose from the available options.

    Forum Options menu button
    Options include:

Edit - To modify the forum, click on the Edit button in the Options menu.

Grade - Click Grade to view a user's posts and assign a grade for a given forum.

Students' role in forums: manager, moderator, grader, participant, reader and blockedMange - This will allow you to change the students' role in the forum. Available options include manager, moderator, grader, participant, reader and blocked.

Copy - Allows for copying the forum to somewhere else in your course, such as to a group discussion board area.

Delete - Click this option to remove the forum.