Blackboard Ultra Help & Support

Blackboard Ultra: Discussions

This guide details how to use the Discussion Tool on a Blackboard Ultra site. Ultra sites are different to Blackboard Learn sites (the standard at Lincoln) so please refer to the helpsheet which is most appropriate to your module.

What is a Blackboard Ultra Discussion?

In your Blackboard Ultra Modules you may find that your instructor has used a feature known as ‘Discussions’ or as we may likely refer to them Discussion Boards. Discussions in Blackboard Ultra allow you to share your thoughts and ideas on a particular topic or selection of questions with other students on your module. These discussions may be graded as part of an individual or group assignment, as well as being used to gather ideas and feedback on module content.

How do I Access Discussions?

There are a number of ways that you can access your Discussions, and this depends on how they have been configured by your instructor. The standard way of accessing a Discussion is to:

  1. Go to your Blackboard module.
  2. Click on the Discussions menu item at the top of the site (located between Calendar and Grade Centre).
  3. Select the Discussion that you need to contribute to from the list presented.
The Discussions tab in Blackboard Ultra is shown. The page contains a list of discussion boards active on the module. The title and an extract of the topic is displayed.

As with all content on your Blackboard Ultra module, you can locate the Discussion item within a weekly folder or an assessment folder, simply go to your Blackboard module, locate the item and click on the title or the icon to open it.

A Discussion board is shown on the Module Content page of a Blackboard Ultra site. Two speech bubbles are shown as the icon with the title and topic of the discussion board.

If your Discussion has a due date or is graded you will also be able to access it from the Grade Centre, the calendar, and the activity stream.

Exploring the Discussion Page

Before you make your first post to the Discussion, you can review the Discussion Topic section of the page. This section will be used by your instructor to provide all necessary information in relation to your contributions. For example specific topics or questions to reflect on, as well as guidance around expectations – i.e. you may be required to respond to a particular number of other contributions in addition to creating your own.

To the right-hand side of the Discussion Topic section, a refresh button is shown, this can be used to ensure you are reviewing the latest version once others on your module have started to comment.

A screenshot of a Discussion in Blackboard Ultra. The section is titled "Discussion Topic" and below a text box contains the topic and questions to be discussed. A refresh icon (two arrows in a circle) is displayed in the top-right hand corner.

On the right-hand side of the discussion page, you will find details about the discussion if it is assessed, for example the due date for participation, the number of marks available, and information about a rubric if one is being used for marking.

The Ultra Discussion page is shown focused on the Details and Information section. A calendar icon is shown with the due date for participation. A sub heading of "Marking" is displayed below this with a box that shows the maximum marks available.

Additionally, below this, you will see the Participants tab, which displays all the users who have access to the Discussion (this will be other students on the module or students within your group) and the number of responses and replies they have made.

A participants tab is shown for a Blackboard Ultra Discussion. Each user who has access to the discussion board is shown with their responses and replies counted for others to see.

Posting your First Discussion Reponse

When you have opened your Discussion you may find that there are no contributions from other students displayed, this is because your instructor has set the Discussion to require a contribution, before you can read and respond to others. If this is the case a message will be shown: Post a response to see discussion activity. You can’t view discussion activity yet. Responses and replies appear when you post a response.

In order to add your contribution to the Discussion, click into the “Type a response” box, this will present you with the standard Blackboard Ultra content editor toolbar, and a blank textbox. As you type, you will see the Word Count value update, which can be used if there is a limit to the amount of text permitted in your discussion board.

In this space you can make your text bold, italic, and underlined, as well as add tables, bulleted lists, links to external content and file attachments. Once you have typed your entry, you will be able to click on the Respond button located below the text box, to add your contribution to the discussion board.

A responses box for a Blackboard Ultra Discussion is shown. The text box features a formatting toolbar to adjust the style of text, and buttons to cancel, respond and save as draft are located at the bottom.

Responding to Other Contributions

If you are required to respond to other contributions in the discussion board, you can do this by simply clicking on the “Reply” text displayed below each contribution, this will open the standard Blackboard Ultra content editor toolbar, and a blank textbox. Click the Reply button located below the text box to post your comment on another student’s contribution, they can then respond to you if required.

A screenshot of the Reply button on a Blackboard Ultra Discussion Board. When the reply button is selected, a type a reply textbox is shown.

Accessing Grades for Assessed Discussions

When your instructor has posted grades and feedback to your Discussion, you can review these by going to the Grade Centre on your module. The link can be located at the top of the module page inbetween Discussions and Messages.

A screenshot of the Blackboard Ultra Course navigation bar. Five items are shown horizontally: Module Content, Calendar, Discussions, Grade Centre and Messages.

In the list view, you will see the Discussion icon, the discussion title, when you submitted, the marking status, the grade that has been awarded by your instructor and if feedback is provided the purple feedback icon will be shown. You can click on the icon to open and read the feedback provided by your instructor.

A screenshot of the Blackboard Ultra Grade Centre. The Discussion assignment is shown, from left to right the following information is displayed: assignment title, date submitted, mark status, grade, and feedback icon.

Additionally, if you access the Discussion in the same manner as when you were adding contributions, the Details and Information tab on the right-hand side will have updated to also show your grade and the feedback icon.

The Ultra Discussion page is shown focused on the Details and Information section. A calendar icon is shown with the due date for the assignment. A sub heading of "Marking" is displayed below this with the journal icon and the grade out of 100.
Quote Icon