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Course Menu/Discussion Boards


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Why are the buttons in the course menu truncated?

The button functionality, while still available in Blackboard 9.1, does not function as it did in the previous version of Blackboard. The use of buttons also eliminates the ability to reorder the menu items using the new drag and drop features.

To resolve both of these issues it will be necessary to change the button style to text. To change the button style, go to Customization under the Course Management area and select Style.  In the Select Menu Style area, select Text. Then select [Submit].

Why am I unable to rearrange the course menu items using the drag and drop feature?

There are two possible reasons for this issue.

  • The Edit button at the top right hand side of the page is selected to OFF.
  • If the Edit button is turned to OFF, simply click the button so it displays ON. Once Edit is On the drag and drop functionality should be enabled.
  • The menu items are set to display as buttons.

If menu items are set to display as buttons, it will be necessary to change the button style to text. To change the button style, go to Customization under the Course Management area and select Style.  In the Select Menu Style area, select Text. Then select[Submit].

How do I add items to the Course Menu?

The first thing to do in order to enable the ability to add items to the Course Menu is to select the Edit Mode button located at the far right hand side of the page to ON. Once Edit Mode is ON, a + button will appear in the top left hand corner of the Course Menu. Simply click on this button to review a list of items that can be added to the menu. Then select the item and complete the requested information fields. To ensure the students can access the item, make sure the Available to Users box is checked before clicking [Submit].

How do I hide or remove items from the menu?

By default Content Areas that are empty are hidden from the Students.

  • If an Instructor wishes to hide an area from the Students but not delete it, click on the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the item to be hidden and select Hide Link from the resulting menu.
  • If an Instructor would like to completely remove an item from the menu, click on the Action link button (chevron sign) next to the item to be removed. From the resulting menu, select Delete.

Why are so many of the menu items hidden within the Student view?

Blackboard 9.1 automatically hides any menu item that is empty. To reveal menu items that are empty, simply add content to them.  Once content is added the option to “Hide Link” becomes available in the Action Link menu for that menu item if you wish to hide the item and show it at a later date.

I used to use HTML code to bold and color my menu items, can I still do that?

Adding HTML code to any title field either in menu items or content items is not recommended. This was the case in Blackboard 8 as well. In Blackboard 9.1, however, the extra code breaks functionality such as the drag and drop feature.

Why are menu items that contain content still identified as hidden from student view? Why don’t I seem to be able to “Show” these items?

This has been reported by a few Instructors and we are still investigating the root cause. What we can tell you is that once Course Availability is set to Yes, these items should appear in the student view.

We will update the User Community on any future findings related to this issue

Where do I access the Discussion Board?

The Discussion Board is a link on the course menu in the new Blackboard 9.1 template. If you are not using the default course menu, the Discussion Board can be accessed By clicking on Course Tools within the Course Management Area then selecting Discussion Board.
Discussion Forums can also be added to and accessed from within Content Areas. To add a Discussion Forum to a Content Area, go to the Content Area and select Edit ON. On the resulting page, select the Add Interactive Tool button and select Discussion Board. Follow the remaining prompts to create the Discussion Forum and then add it the Content area.
See the Accessing Discussion Boards tutorial for more information.

Is it possible to prevent students from reading each other’s Discussion Postings until all students have posted?

Yes!  The process is called Force Moderation. During the process of creating a forum, select the Force Moderation of Posts check box under Forum Settings.

If the forum has already been created, select the Discussion Forum you wish to modify. Then click the Action Link menu (chevron sign) next to the forum and select Edit.  Scroll to Forum Settings and select the Force Moderation of Posts checkbox. Once Moderated, Students will receive messages indicating that their posting was received, but they will be unable to read the messages of their peers until the instructor publishes them.

See the Force Moderation tutorial in the Help Tab under Discussion Board for more information.

Why do I keep receiving an Error message when I try to grade a discussion forum?

Assuming you are enrolled in the course as an Instructor, TA, or Grader there is one primary cause of this Error. When a Discussion Forum is created and set to be graded, a grade column is automatically created in the Grade Center. If the Instructor goes into the Grade Center and changes the Column name for the Discussion Forum it will break the connection to the Grade Center.
Unfortunately, there is no way to reestablish that connection once it is broken. To proceed, simply create a Grade Column in the Grade Center and manually enter grades into the column.
See the Grading Discussions tutorial and/or the Adding a Grade Column tutorial for additional information.

How can I control the availability of a Discussion Forum?

There are numerous ways to control the availability of a Discussion Forum.

  1. The first and most common way is to set Availability Dates under Forum Availability. This option will display the Discussion Forum after a specific date and/or until a specific date.
  2. The second, less common method is to apply Adaptive Release to the Discussion Forum. Adaptive Release is only available on a Forum that is accessed from within a Content Area.

See the Adding Forums tutorial or the Adaptive Release tutorials for more information.

Is there a way for Students and even myself as the Instructor to know when someone has posted to the Discussion Board?

Yes! During the creation of a Discussion Forum, there is an option to Allow members to subscribe to forums. Selecting this option along with the option to Include link to post works quite well. Once Subscriptions are turned on, a Subscribe button will appear in the forum itself. Simply click on the Subscribe button to receive email notifications when someone posts to the forum.

Note: We highly discourage the use of the Include body of post in the email option as it takes the posting outside of the secured Blackboard environment.

See the Adding Forums and the Creating Subscriptions tutorials found in the Help Tab under Discussion Boards for more information

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