How to Setup Private Discussion Boards for Individual Students

The purpose of this article is to explain how to set up discussion boards for individual students.

About Private Discussion Boards

What are they?

A private discussion board is the same as any other discussion board, except that only the instructor and an individually assigned student have access to the posted threads and replies.

Why use them?

A private discussion board may be useful when creating assignments that ask students to write about sensitive information that they may not want to share with the rest of the class.  For example, you want students to write about legal or ethical situations that they have encountered in a clinical setting.

A private discussion board ensures that students cannot see each other’s posts, but instructors can still respond and assign grades to the threads.

How to create one?

A private discussion board is created through the Groups tool.  Each student is put in his/her own individual group, and a discussion board is then created for the “group.”  See the next section for step-by-step instructions.

Creating Private Discussion Boards

Step 1

Navigate to the Groups tool

  1. Click Groups in the top navbar
  2. Click New Category

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Step 2

Create your new group category

  1. Enter a Category Name
  2. Select Single user, member-specific groups from the drop-down menu
  3. Check Set up discussion areas
  4. Click Save

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Step 3

Create the discussion board

  1. Select a Forum for the discussion topic.  (If a Forum has not yet been created, you can create one by clicking [New Forum]
  2. Select Create one topic with threads separated by group
  3. Enter the Title for your discussion topic
  4. In the Description box, enter the directions or question(s) for the discussion
  5. Click Create and Next

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Step 4

Navigate to the Groups page to see a list of the groups

  1. Click Groups in the top navbar
  2. Each student in the course should now be listed as the single member of a group

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Grading Private Discussion Boards

Step 1

Create an Item in gradebook for the discussion topic.  Click here for more specific instructions.

Step 2

Link the discussion topic to the gradebook item.  Click here for more specific instructions.

Step 3

Assess the topic.  Click here for more specific instructions.




TIP: Instructors will not be able to filter students according to assigned instructor. It is recommended that faculty subscribe their students’ threads for ease of location. Alternately, instructors can enter a name in the search box to locate individual students for assessment.
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