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individual blog posts). A discussion board differs from a blog in that the purpose is to exchange and discuss information and ideas. Discussions boards offer a platform for sharing insights, asking questions, and offering support. As with the blog feature, you may set up the discussion board for the entire class’s participation or you may create sub-groups and set up a discussion board within the sub-group that only students in the group can access. Discussion boards are useful for engaging in scholarly debate, continuing a class discussion, exploring open ended questions, and sketching out the ―how‖ and ―why‖ of a project. Wikis provide a place for a collaboratively built web page of content. The final product is a group authored page (or pages) of relevant content. Depending upon the goals of the assignment, faculty will want to determine ahead of time which tools best align with the assignment goals. Facilitating collaborative writing within a Learning Management System like


Blackboard can support inquiry based learning as well as help foster a sense of class community. One of the benefits of utilizing the tools within an available LMS is that the course work and collaboration remains private in the sense that it does not move beyond the scope of the class participants. From reflective blog entries to exploratory discussions to collaboratively authored wikis, Blackboard supports student exploration in a safe space. With opportunities for one to one student-instructor interaction as well as peer collaboration and communication, such a safe place for inquiry can encourage a virtual community of exploration and scholarship. You can easily set up student groups within Blackboard. Before doing so, you


will want to map out the goals and methodologies of the assignment in order to determine which grouping features to enable for student groups. Additionally, you will want to consider which features will be associated with a grade. You can initially set up student groups, group tools, and associated grades in one fell swoop. (You can always add or alter these features and grades and groups at any time during the course). To begin creating groups


Fig. 5.2 Creation of Groups in Blackboard


in Blackboard, log in to Blackboard and select ―Groups.‖ Select ―Create Single Group.‖ You have


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