Fine Tuning the Discussion Board Professional Expectation

In a recent meeting of the CAOs of all Baker campuses, the Bb Discussion Board expectation for faculty has been refined.  It was determined that instructors may meet this Discussion Board Professional Expectation by using one or any combination of Blackboard’s three interactive tools (Discussion Board, Blog, and/or Journal).  The goal of all three Blackboard interactive tools (Discussion Board, Blog, and Journal) is the same—to extend learning beyond the classroom by having students interact with other students, with the instructor, and with the content.

Each of these tools provides instructors with a slightly different approach to achieving that goal.   Each tool is better suited for some types of tasks/assignments than others.  Instructors are encouraged to use the right tool for the job.

  • The Discussion Board is useful to have students interact with other students, the content, and the instructor through brief conversations, wherein students get to extend their knowledge of a few ideas for a week. This lets students contextualize a key ideas each week throughout the course.
  • The Blog feature allows students to interact with students, content, and the instructor but allows for a more personalized space where students can dig into a particular topic for an extended period of time. For example, students can produce a research project or use the Blog to facilitate research collection for a major project.  The instructor could also set up a course Blog where students contribute to a class body of knowledge, all the while engaging in conversations with peers and the instructor and reflecting on multiple perspectives.
  • The Journal feature can be used in a variety of ways.  It allows students private interaction with the instructor.  It also allows for students to interact with each other, if the instructor chooses to allow the journals to be “public” to the class.  Journaling’s primary purpose is to facilitate deep reflection in a variety of ways, such as learning logs, reading responses, and responses to reflective questions by the instructor.   Finally, the Journal has the added benefit of allowing students to collect all their reflections in one place to see their growth over time.

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