Starter Discussion Boards

These four examples are meant to provide inspiration and ideas, as well as, save you time as you create your first course discussion boards. The ideas presented here, may help you get over the initial hurdle of not knowing where to begin when considering using discussion forums in your course.

Discussion Board #1

[GRADED] Introductions – Due Sunday, July 9, 20##

Collaboration is more important in the online learning environment. With that in mind, it is critical that we get to know one another when communicating online. To promote a “human connection” we should use this forum to introduce ourselves to one another. It is important, in my opinion, that each of us realizes that there is a person associated with the various emails, posts, etc. This is a requirement of the course and is not an option. See below example as to how you might state this for your learners:

Please write at least a three-paragraph introduction about yourself. You should include information about your background, i.e., work experience, why you are taking this class, and/or something unique [personal] about yourself that you would not mind sharing with your classmates.

If you would like, you may also attach a photograph or picture to accompany your introduction. It need not be a portrait photograph; that photo you will place in your course profile. Instead, you may opt to select a photograph of yourself participating in an interesting activity or something else that is interesting and/or significant to you either personally or professionally.

Your introduction must be posted by Sunday.

By Friday, July 9, you should read all of your classmate’s posts. Reply to at least 2 of these messages [postings], making sure to make reference to something that was mentioned in that individual’s introduction, i.e., posting.

(Note: If you are entering the forum to write responses after many responses have already been posted, please make an effort to respond to any introductions that may not have had responses posted for them.)

Discussion Board #2

[UNGRADED] Technology Issues/Problems With Blackboard

The purpose of this discussion forum is to provide a vehicle for you to assist one another in solving the technical problems that might arise from using a tool like Blackboard. Discussion is by no means restricted to Blackboard. Feel free to discuss problems you may be encountering in using any of the following: a computer, mobile phone, tablet, software, Blackboard, etc….

You may use this area to ask questions or to post tips for success that you have found helpful as you use Blackboard. I will be monitoring the discussion and am willing to award “Extra Credit” to those individuals that are willing to assist one another, i.e. assume my role in this discussion.

Discussion Board #3

[UNGRADED] The Cybercafé

This is a play area. You may use this area to discuss any topics of interest. If you have seen a great movie, read an interesting book, or are incensed by something you have heard on the news, here’s where we can talk about it!

Please remember that this is an academic forum – while you may discuss any topics of interest, please remember that you are expected to follow the same etiquette for class discussions here as you would in a “live” face-to-face classroom. That is, always be considerate of the feelings of your fellow classmates and think about what you write before pressing the post or reply button.

Please feel free to send me a message if you would like me to create a dedicated forum for a particular issue of interest or if you would like to continue a particular face-to-face class discussion online.

Discussion Board #4

[GRADED] Week #: Causes Leading to the United States Participation in WWI

To improve our understanding of the material it is necessary to internalize the material well enough that we can logically discuss, not only simple facts and data but understand it as well. We need to learn to use this information to form our own opinions regarding the material. I do not want you to learn to recite the data and facts that I present during lecture. I want you to go beyond the presentation and form a deep understand of the material. I want you to be able to form opinions taken directly from lecture and learn to solve problems, when presented with them, using those facts. Therefore, working in discussion forums is a requirement of the course and is not optional. See below example as to how you might state this for your learners:

This week you are to discuss the First World War and in particular, “Why the United States Entered the War on the side of the Allies.” Be sure to include social, political, cultural, and other angles in this discussion. Do not restrict the discussion to one and only one topic. The purpose of this discussion forum is to provide a vehicle for you to assist one another in learning the information presented in both class and your readings. These discussions are to be considered WORK and will be graded as such. You are required to post, at a minimum, 3-times each week. These posts are to be substantive in nature; it is not appropriate to either agree or disagree with the previous post. You must back-up any statements with facts. Additionally, you are required to comment on, at a minimum, at least two of your classmates’ postings. These comments or postings are also to be substantive in nature as well.

Discussion Group Leaders are required to summarize the main points of the discussion and submit them to their instructor no later than 48-hours after the end of the discussion period. Use MS-Word® to create this document, with 1-inch borders, and employ 12-point Times as the font. Do not deviate from these minimal criteria, if you do I will return the paper and lower your grade on that particular assignment “one letter grade.”

I will post the summary document in the Assignments area of the course. This document will be placed in the folder labeled, “Discussion Board Summaries” no later that 48-hours after submission and grading.

Each group leader is to additionally submit a grade for all students who participate in the discussions. Use the “matrix” that I distributed for this purpose. Each member of the discussion board is to receive a grade using the criteria, i.e. columns in your worksheet. The grades you assign will be used in the final determination of each individual’s grade. I reserve the right to reject any grades that are not honestly derived or assigned and will adjust them accordingly.

Note to Instructor’s:
A separate discussion forum could [should] be created for each topic of study. These topics can be taken directly from your “Course Outline or Lesson Plan.”


Additional Assistance:

  • Call our Blackboard Help line 24 hours a day, every day at (213) 740-5555 and choose option 2.
  • Faculty can request help and training from USC’s Enterprise Learning Technologies group by submitting a request to blackboard@usc.edu.