Academic Technology Center
Teaching with Technology Collaboratory

Using the Discussion Board


The discussion tool is a way for participants in your course to interact and discuss topics in your course. Users can log in and post or respond to messages on their own schedule. This is considered an asynchronous method of communication because users do not need to be online at a specific time.


Access to this tool is available to students as well as teaching assistants and instructors.

Students can access this feature by clicking on the Course Tools option in the sidebar.


This documentation details tools for both students and course managers (such as TAs, certain students, and faculty). Students may not be able to edit posts or create discussion boards in certain course sites. Contact your professor or TA if you need to access a feature.

Accessing the Discussion Board Tool in myWPI

In many courses, the discussion board is an important part of the course, so it is added as a menu item. In fact, the discussion board is in the default menu for course sites created from scratch. To add the discussion board to the menu (if it does not already exist) or to delete it from the menu, see Setting up the Course Menu and Site Features.

If the discussion board is listed in the menu, simply click on it to access it.

An alternative method of accessing the discussion board is to click on Communication in the Course Tools area and then select Discussion Board from the list. You'll then have to select the class or assignment that has the discussion board that you want to view.


Forums are topics within the Discussion Board. Threads are sub-topics related to a Forum topic. There can be multiple threads in a Forum that all pertain to the Forum topic.

Creating Forums

An initial Forum called "Discussion 1" is created by default in each new course. This can be deleted or modified. The instructions below are for creating new forums.

  1. Click the Create Forum button. The Add Forum page appears with three sections.

Section 1: Forum Information

  1. Enter a name for the forum in the Name field.
  2. Enter a description in the Description field. This is where you might want to indicate the topic or question you want students to discuss in the forum.

Section 2: Forum Availability

  • If you want to make the forum available to students right away and for the duration of the course (or until you manually make it unavailable), click Yes in the Available field.
  • If you want to make the forum available only for a limited time, select the dropboxes for Display After and Display Until and select the appropriate dates from the dropdown menus.
  • Section 3: Forum Settings

    1. Click the checkboxes for your desired settings in the forum.

    The default Forum settings are shown above.

    1. If you will be grading the forum, select the appropriate grading option.


    Discussion board grading is a new option in myWPI. To learn more, see Grading Discussion Boards.

    Section 4: Submit

    1. Click Submit to create the forum.


    After you have created more than one forum, you can reorder them in Edit Mode by clicking and dragging the arrow icons on the left of each forum.

    Removing Forums

    1. From the Discussion Board tool main page, click on the dropdown button and select Delete next to the forum you want to remove.
    2. You will be prompted with notification that removing the forum will erase all the threads within the forum. Continue the removal by clicking OK.

    Forum Options

    Within a forum, there are additional options for managing the forum.

    Adding Threads

    After you have successfully created a forum in your Discussion Board tool, you can create a new discussion thread. Participants in your course can also create new threads within the Forum you just created.

    1. Click on the title of the forum in which you want to start a new thread.
    1. Click the Create Thread button.
    2. Enter a Subject and Message.
    3. If you have an attachment, click the Attach a file link and use the Browse button to locate the file on your computer.
    4. Click Submit.

    Reading New Messages

    Within the Discussion Board tool main page, forums with new messages are indicated by a number in the Unread Posts column.

    In this example, there is one new message in this forum.

    1. Click on the forum name.
    2. Threads in the forum with new messages are indicated by a number in the Unread Posts column.
    3. Click a thread title. The Thread Detail page appears. The first post in the thread is visible.
    4. New messages appear in bold. To read the new message or any other message, click on the message title.

    Replying to Messages

    1. Click on a message you want to reply to.
    2. Click the Reply or Quote button. If you click Quote, the message you are replying to will be quoted in your reply. The quoting option can be turned off when creating a forum.

    By quoting a discussion, you will add something similar to this to your reply.

    1. Enter a Subject if you want to change it from the default.
    2. Enter your reply in the Message box.
    3. To include an attachment, click the Attach a file link and then Browse to find the file on your computer.
    4. Click Submit to post the reply to the thread.

    Editing Messages

    1. Open the thread containing the message you want to edit.
    2. Click Edit in the message area.
    3. Make the appropriate modifications or edits and click Submit.

    Message Options

    Within a thread, there are additional options for managing messages.

    Removing Messages

    1. Open the thread containing the message you want to remove.
    2. Click Delete in the message area.
    3. When prompted for a confirmation, click OK to complete the removal.

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    Last modified: Oct 09, 2012, 14:11 EDT
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