The forum and the thread are the basis for the two ways that you can organize a graded discussion.
In a graded forum, students respond to the discussion assignment by creating a thread. Students and instructors then respond by replying to each thread.
The second option for organizing a discussion is to create a graded thread. In this case, the instructor must submit the message that begins the thread, and students respond by replying to the thread. Students cannot create new threads; they can only respond to the thread created by the instructor.
Which way of organizing discussions is better? If you are going to have discussion assignments that generate a large number of messages and replies, you will probably do better to create a graded discussion forum. The forum keeps the discussion very organized and allows you to view each student's thread.
On the other hand, if you expect only a limited number of messages, you may do better with a graded thread. The problem with using a graded thread is that you end up with one thread which can be very long and challenging to navigate. In addition, some browsers may not display lengthy threads well.
Most of the time, creating a graded forum is a better option. This means that there will be only one graded discussion assignment for each forum. However, the assignment is easily identified by the forum description.
One final organizational matter that you should be aware of is the division of discussions into pages. By default, Blackboard displays 25 threads at a time. If your forum contains more than 25 threads, additional pages will be added and a set of navigation buttons will be added. You can also change the pagination by clicking on the Edit Paging button at the bottom of the page.
Continue to the next page for the summary and self-test.