Discussion Board Formatting

Introduction

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

When you copy and paste from Word, you may see that some of the APA formatting elements you used in your original document - such as font size, margins, and hanging indents - do not appear the same way in Blackboard. Though these elements are required for papers you submit to the assignment dropbox, your discussion board posts do not have to be formatted in this way.

For example:

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...compared to:

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If you are experiencing this problem, don't worry. Remove the hanging indents and the spacing from your reference list (see below). Just make sure that all of the appropriate citation information is included for each source (i.e., authors, title, publishing company, page numbers, etc.) and that this information is written in correct APA format.

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The same applies to font size, font style, margins, and other pagination elements that do not "copy over" from Word. Below is a screenshot of part of a post that is in acceptable format. Note that in addition to the reference list at the end of the post, in-text citations are included throughout the post as well:

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For more information on citation and reference requirements for discussion board posts, click here, for a brief tutorial.

Scholarly sample Substantive 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:

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Common knowledge 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.

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