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Discussion Board/Forum

A discussion board or forum is an online tool that facilitates asynchronous discussion. In contrast to a live chat, contributors don’t need to be logged in at the same time. Instead, participants post to a virtual “notice board” where their post remains visible for peers to read/respond to. 

Boards may be heavily moderated/teacher-led or student-led. Within a blended/online environment, they are often used to prepare for, or follow up on live classes. 

Typically used to…. 

….facilitate and assess  

  • communication skills 
  • discussion 
  • reflection 
  • debate 
  • critical analysis 
  • team working 
  • peer review

Key considerations when using discussion boards for assessment 

When contributing to discussion boards as part of an assessment, always refer to the guidelines and requirements provided by your lecturer, .eping the following points in mind:  

  • Make sure you know how to post and respond to another student’s post. If in doubt, ask your lecturer where you might find help. 
  • What is the purpose of the discussion board? Can you use it to ask questions about lecture content, assessments, group formations? Are your posts being graded? 
  • If your posts are being assessed, are they being used for formative or summative assessment purposes (or both!) 
  • If your posts contribute to your final grade (i.e. are being used for summative assessment), how much are they worth? 
  • What criteria is being used to assess your contributions? For example,  
    • Are they being assessed by quantity or length of posts, or by the quality of your responses or both?  
    • Has a rubric been provided? Make sure you keep this mind when writing each post. 
  • As a general tip, if you are asking a question on a discussion board, check the other posts to see if it has been answered already. Someone else may have got there before you! Going to the discussion forum can be a great place to hear the opinions of others, ask questions or discuss the module content. 


Trinity-supported tools:  

The Institutional VLE discussion tool is accessible through Blackboard.
Google Groups and MS Yammer and Teams are accessible via myzone

External tools (unsupported by Trinity):  


Blackboard Discussions  

This student guide from Blackboard demonstrates how to use Blackboard’s Discussions to open a new discussion and post responses to peers’ posts.  

Online Discussions: Tips for Students  

This article from the University of Waterloo provides a list of tips for students on how to participate effectively in online discussions.

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