Discussion Board Formatting Issues & Requirements



You may have some questions about the formatting and style of your discussion board posts. It is always recommended that you write out your posts in Microsoft Word (or another word processing program) before submitting them to the discussion board. You may see, however, that your formatting in Microsoft Word does not "translate" to the text editor in Blackboard. Also, you might have questions about the formatting and style requirements of your discussion board posts. This page seeks to address these and other issues.


Formatting with the Blackboard Text Editor

You should always write out your discussion board posts in Microsoft Word before submitting them to Blackboard. This not only allows you to check your work for spelling and grammar mistakes but also enables you to easily save your posts to your own computer, thus preventing the need for you to download your ongoing work from Blackboard at the end of your class.

However, when copying and pasting the text of your Word documents into Blackboard, you will see that the formatting you used in Word does not always match what appears in the Blackboard text editor (this will happen with spacing, indentation, and other common formatting elements).

Don't worry, though - there is no expectation for the format/layout of your discussion board posts in terms of spacing, indentation, margins, etc. even if you are in a class where APA style is required for your other assignments.

You do, however, still need to cite the references and sources from which you are quoting or otherwise drawing information (see below for further details).

Discussion Board APA Format Requirement

Because the discussion board serves both as a graduate seminar experience and a semi-formal discussion for your course, students do not need to follow APA formatting in regard to margins, spacing, etc., but they do need to follow APA guidelines for citing their sources and references.

  • Students must cite their sources, using APA style, in the text of their posts. This may seem tedious at first, but it will become a natural part of your professional writing style. You are expected to use a professional writing style, meaning you must acknowledge and cite the experts who have contributed to research, theory, and applications in your field.
  • Students will also provide a list of references in APA style at the end of their posts. This is a professional requirement which adds credibility to your work, provides ongoing references for your own research, and provides other readers with a list of references. Aside from this, you are NOT expected to use APA formatting (double spacing, paragraph indentations, etc.) in the discussion board.

All formal written assignments that require references are expected to conform to APA formatting (including in-text citations and reference lists). Students are encouraged to refer to online resources such as Concordia's APA style guide, Citation Maker, and for guidance and further information.

See the images below for an example of a high quality post for which the author provided proper citations (both in-text and at the end of the post in a reference list) and a poorly composed post for which citations were not included. These posts are in response to the following discussion board prompt:

"As described in your readings, being a leader is sometimes an uncomfortable role. Gallos addresses the idea of getting ready for resistance. Kouzes and Posner address the idea of viewing change as a challenge and being willing to experiment and take risks. Paul Levy in the case study spoke about his experiences of resistance from constituents and problems with decision making within the organization.

The leaders mentioned in the previous paragraph relied on the literature, the research, and their experiences to determine the path to take. What resistance can you anticipate for the ideas you have for leading your organization, department, or unit that you selected for consideration during this course? What are some strategies you may consider to help lessen or alleviate the resistance?"



Scholarly Sample Post

This post is an example of a high quality discussion board response. It synthesizes information from professional sources and required reading to augment personal reflections and positions. Citations are used and references are in correct format. See the highlighted elements below:






Sample Post

This post is an example of a poorly composed discussion board response. It is based on "common knowledge" and opinion; unlike the post above, it makes no attempt to reference outside sources and lacks both in-text citations and a reference list.