Using the Discussion Board

A discussion board is a communication tool that allows students and the instructor to discuss and exchange ideas. To learn more about using the discussion board tool, please review these resources.

What is a Discussion Board?

Think of a discussion board as a message board that organizes conversations by topics introduced by the instructor. An individual conversation is called a forum. In a forum, you will view, create, and reply to messages. Participation in a forum is oftentimes a graded activity in a course.

Discussion Board Example


How to Participate in a Discussion Board

Students can access a course's discussion board to view and participate in forums by clicking a discussion board button in the course's main menu or by clicking on forum links provided by their instructor. Watch the video below or read the instructions as a downloadable PDF document to review how to publish messages to the discussion board.

When creating a thread or reply that is more than a few sentences long, we strongly recommend typing the message in a word processing program. You can then copy and paste the text into a discussion thread. This will prevent you from losing your work should an internet connection problem occur.


How to Save Threads as Drafts

When you are composing a new thread, it can be saved as an unpublished draft by clicking the Save Draft button. Threads saved as drafts cannot be viewed by your instructor or classmates. As long as the forum remains available to students, you may return to your draft thread to edit and publish it to the forum.

Create Thread Screen - Draft Button


To find a thread that you saved as a draft, return to the forum where you saved the draft thread and use the Display menu to sort through the threads. Choose Show All to view all draft and published threads.

Finding a Draft Thread


Draft threads will be listed in the forum and will be marked with Draft Status. Click on the title of the draft thread to view the thread.

Draft Thread


When viewing the draft thread, you can access options for editing or deleting the draft thread.

Draft Thread - Editing Options


When editing the thread, you can publish the thread by clicking the Submit button. A published thread can be viewed by your instructor and classmates.

Draft Thread - Editing and Publishing


How to Subscribe to a Forum

If your instructor allows you to subscribe to forums or threads in a course, you can opt into recieving e-mail alerts whenever new messages or replies are added to the discussion. To subscribe to a forum or thread, simply click the Subscribe button that appears when viewing discussion board content. To unsubscribe, access the forum or thread that you subscribed to and click the provided Unsubscribe button.

Discussion Board - Subscribe Button


Subscription can be a useful tool for staying aware of conversations happening in the forum. However, do not directly reply to e-mail notifications to participate in a discussion board conversation; you must actually visit the course’s discussion board to reply to threads.