The NEW Blackboard Discussion Board: Subscription Feature

I wrote in a previous post about how students can subscribe to a Blackboard discussion forum and/or thread. This would result in them receiving either a link to a discussion forum and/or thread post or the body of the new post in their email. The reason you might want to enable subscription for students when you create a discussion forum and/or thread is to simply provide students with the option of receiving email notices when new stuff is posted to Blackboard. In other words, students wouldn’t need to go to their Blackboard course site to see if anything new has been posted to a discussion forum.

To enable the subscribe feature in a forum or thread, here’s all you need to do:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Discussion Board and then click your course discussion board (the same name as your course) to open it.
  2. Click the +Forum button at the top left of the window to create a new discussion forum.
  3. You will then need to name your discussion forum and decide upon how you want it to look and behave for your students. One of the choices is “Subscribe.”

subscribe in Blackboard

By default, Blackboard has the “Do not allow subscriptions” radio box selected. However, you can choose between the following:

  1. Allow members to subscribe to threads
  2. Allow members to subscribe to forum (with the additional options of (a) include body of post in the email or (b) include link to post.

If you select “Allow members to subscribe to threads,” then any threads in that post will have a little button at the top right of the discussion thread view that says “Subscribe.” When the student clicks this button, they are automatically subscribed to that thread, with any new posts being sent to their email.

If you select the second choice, “Allow members to subscribe to forum,” then that forum will have the “Subscribe” button for the student to select and all new postings to that forum would either be (a) posted in its entirety to the students’ email or (b) posted as a link (less text in the student’s email message, since it would just be a link to the discussion forum.)

Click the thumbnail image below to see what the subscribe button looks like to a student in a discussion forum:

student subscribe

Either way, students CANNOT respond to discussion forums and/or threads through their email. They MUST go to your Blackboard course site and post there. The subscription feature simply helps student be alert to new postings without having to go to your Blackboard site. It’s a handy reminder of what might be going on in your site and is a valuable feature to a discussion board.

If it were me, I would format the subscribe feature in the following way:

subscribe me

In other words, I would enable the Subscribe feature, allowing members to subscribe to the forum (which would include all of the threads/posts) and then select include link to post. That way, a student’s email message would be shorter. But either option would work well.

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