Step 5:  Email & Discussions


On this page, you will be introduced to the discussion board feature in Blackboard as well as learning how to send emails to individuals or an entire class within Blackboard.

The email tool is generally available in the left navigation in your courses. It is possible your instructor removed or changed those links. If it is not available, contact your instructor with a request to add them to your course navigation.

This tool does not send email within Blackboard - it relays the email to the email address in your profile. This is why it's important to make sure that the email address in your profile is set to the correct email address. 

Here's the Blackboard tutorial on sending email. Keep in mind that if your comment or question could be beneficial to other students, you should probably use a discussion forum, rather than email, so that the whole class can see and/or respond to it (the image below shows a couple typical links that might exist in the course left hand navigation, such as "Email" and or "Student Tools").

PLEASE NOTE: the newest versions of Blackboard have an additional tool called Messages or Course Messages, that are separate and different from the Email tool. This is available after logging in, under the Calendar in the base navigation menu. We do not recommend using Course Messages at this time, as many people do not have their profiles configured or may not notice or receive your messages. Please, when sending a test email, use the Course Email tool and not the Messages tool. 


To begin, select one of the options, depending on whom you'd like to contact: all users (everyone in the course)? groups? TA users? Just other students? Only instructors?  


When you send a test email for this orientation, please select only to send to instructors and not to all students or all users!

If your message is about an aspect of the course which other students may want to know about, also consider posting it in the discussion boards instead. 

If it is about your grade or personal in nature, you may want to simply email the instructor separately, by opening your email account and sending them an email. 

Keep in mind that "All Instructor Users" includes members of the IDEA support team as well.

Also, please do not use Messages or Email within Blackboard to reach out to IDEA Team for technical support. Instead please use the Help! link under Resources in your course. 


Discussion Boards

Discussion boards can be used for students to:

You are expected to include citations to journal articles or other relevant resources in rigorous discussion posts.

Avoid short posts like "I agree": post informative replies with evidence from readings to back up your claims.

Use netiquette when responding to other students. If you disagree, do so in a collegial way that is constructive, specific, evidence-based, sensitive, and balanced manner.

Please view the video, and read the Blackboard Discussions help page (  

And especially see the Discussion FAQ with info about subscribing to discussion threads to receive email notifications. Most forums have a button at the top to subscribe to the forum, so that you are notified when there are new posts.

In terms of your @UMaryland email, it is managed via the UMB Helpdesk ( and you can always reach it on by logging in with your @umaryland email address and UMID/password/DUO). You can also configure forwarding so that all email to your address is also forwarded to an email of your choosing. 

Click the Settings gear wheel in upper right, search for Forwarding or click "View all Outlook Settings" in blue near the bottom - to get to the Mail > Forwarding settings. There you can type or paste in your preferred email. Click to enable forwarding, and we recommend keeping a copy of forwarded messages. 

Need to add a picture to a discussion? It is confusing, since you can't paste in an image.  You would need to click the + icon on the lower right to insert an image and upload the image. 

This tutorial shows how:

Exercise 5

After you finish this exercise, please go to Step 6