Do you teach online at all? If so, you’ve got a discussion board set up (or at least, you should). We always want the students to be active and engaged on the discussion board, but when they do, things can get unwieldy pretty fast. Ever had that student who just refuses to hit “Reply” and instead always starts a new thread? That’s irksome. On the flip side, sometimes you get an original post, and then a reply, and then a reply to the reply, and then a reply to that reply. You end up having about 18 nested layers, with the last few being only a few pixels wide. Not cool.
Discussion board management is a ginormous topic that deserves a website unto itself. But let’s take it one step at a time. Many don’t know it, but you actually have lots of options for changing the settings on your discussion board. At my school, we use Desire 2 Learn (we call it “eCourseware”). There’s a ton of adjustments you can make, but here’s one suggestion for keeping the DB a little bit tidier.
In most LMS software, the default setting is for all DB replies to include the text of the original post. Well, what’s the point of that? I mean, I can understand why you’d want that in an email thread. You never know who will eventually need to join the email conversation; and when they do, it helps to have all the previous comments going back to the first email, just for context. However, on a discussion board, the original post will always be there, so there’s no need to include it in the replies.
To turn that feature off, you’ll need to find your discussion board settings. If you don’t know where they are, just consult the almighty Google. In D2L, you can click the drop-down arrow next to your name in the top right-hang corner of the screen, and then click “Account Settings.”
Then, click the “Discussions” tab, and find the check box for “Include original post in reply.”
See it? I don’t know about Canvas and Blackboard, but in D2L, that box is usually checked by default. If you have 18 students and they’re all replying to their classmates’ posts, well, you can imagine how obnoxious that duplicated and triplicated and quadruplicated text can get (especially if the OPs have any length to them at all). So when you get to this screen, just uncheck that bad boy, click “Save,” and presto-chango — no more cluttered discussion board.
Now, keep in mind that this is just your personal settings. It doesn’t apply globally. So what I’ve started doing is posting instructions in all my courses telling my students to change their own settings before they post. For my classes it’s required, and I’ll ding them for a few participation points if they don’t do it. How dare you pollute our discussion board! Just kidding. Sorta
So anyway, that should do it. Lots more to come on discussion board management. Happy posting!
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