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Learning Technology Team

Workflow 4: Blog, Journal, Discussion Board

Information for Staff

Adding a Discussion Board, Blog or Journal

There are many ways to use Discussion Boards, Journals and Blogs with your students on your NILE sites. It is important to ensure that your students can access them in the best way that suits the activities you have set. Some general guidance on this topic is below, together with some step-by-step instructions for the most common uses.

Concept

The main concept to remember here is that your view as an instructor on a NILE site will differ to that of your students. For example, with popular tools like Blogs, Discussion Boards, Journals and Collaborate Ultra, instructors can access and create these through the Site Management panel.

Site Management menu

This panel does not exist for students on NILE sites. If you have used this panel to create Blogs, Journals, Discussion Boards, etc. it is important to add links elsewhere on the site so that your students can access them too. These are called 'Tool Links' in Blackboard Learn.

Tool links in content areas

The most common way of adding links to these tools is to add a link within the folder you wish students to undertake a particular activity. The options for these are within the Tools menu. 

Adding a tool link in a content area

This example is to Link to a journal that has already been created. Ensure that option is selected and highlight the journal in the list. Click on Next to continue.

Choosing to link to an existing journal

The Link Information section can read differently to the Journal title and Instructions entered when creating the journal originally. In this example, the link is to "Reflective Journal" but the Link Name can be different to make more sense for the student. The Text can include specific instructions based on the location of the link. This example is asking for a starter thought before the rest of the content for that week or topic. Fill out the details as you wish and click Submit to create the link.

The resultant link appears in the content area chosen at the beginning of these steps. It provides clear instructions to the student and is in line with other relevant content or activities in the "Topic 1" folder.

Resultant link in content area

Adding a link to your NILE Blogs or Discussion Boards from the left navigation bar

The site navigation menu should be kept as close as possible to the original template for consistency, however, it can be helpful to add additional links to tools such as discussion boards or blog/journal which will be used frequently by students.

Tool Links in the Site Menu

In your Blackboard course menu click on the [+] button, and choose Tool Link

Screen-grab - add tool link highlighted.

In the Name box enter the text of your choice.

In the Type dropdown menu select Blogs or Discussion Boards.

Tick Available to Users.

Click on Submit.

Should you require urgent assistance with NILE, please contact the LearnTech Support Helpdesk via the online contact form