Getting Started With Blackboard Learn Collaborative Tools

In a successful online learning community, students have the right tools for their interactive tasks. Blackboard Learn offers four communication tools for self-reflection, collaboration, and communication. The Discussion Board, Blogs, Journals, and Wikis tools allow you to provide rich assignments and evaluate students in authentic ways where students can share and create knowledge.

Discussion Boards

The Discussion Board often becomes the online classroom. Because students contemplate before posting, more thoughtful conversations evolve. You can observe students demonstrating their grasp of the material, as well as exchanging ideas, debating topics, asking questions, and working in groups. You can moderate, evaluate, and even grade discussion posts. You can also invite subject matter experts to participate in discussion threads.

Suggested Use: Students can express their ideas, gathering feedback and help with refining their opinions and plans.


Journals are self-reflective spaces where students post thoughts on experiences or course topics. Journal assignments help students create meaning and internalize learning as they engage in personalized one-on-one conversations with you. The private nature of journals offers students a safe environment to express themselves and receive individualized feedback.

Suggested Use: Students can express their thoughts, questions, and concerns to you privately.


Blogs allow authors to communicate their knowledge and opinions to others. Course members can express their ideas and use feedback from you and their peers to refine their thoughts. Blogs facilitate critical thinking and knowledge construction, and support the development of communication skills in a “public” arena of your course.

Suggested Use: Students can interpret what they learned, showcase their grasp of the material, and present information to their colleagues. Students often incorporate rich media into their posts to entice and inform others.


Wikis allow students to contribute and modify pages of course-related material in a collaborative area. Students can create new content or edit existing content as well as view revisions and provide comments. As students construct knowledge, the instructor acts as a facilitator instead of the provider of all course content. Unlike a blog, which is more personal, wikis necessitate intense collaboration, as students build upon each other’s contributions and refine their final work.

Suggested Use: Students can create course content together. Divide students into pairs or groups, or generate work as a class unit. Because each course member is a trusted source of information, everyone may edit and organize the content.

Blackboard have created a document describing the key features of the Discussion Boards, Blogs, Learning Journals and Wikis and how to configure them. Click this link for more information:
pdfGetting started with collaborative tools.