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.

Key Points on this Page

Email Tool

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. 

Note: This email tool is specific to the Blackboard course and is not your regular SSW Email access. To access regular mail, you will need to navigate to, log in with your UMID and Password and then access Microsoft Email.


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 Forums

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.

Discussion Forums 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 to learn more on how to engage with discussions. 

Additonally, visit 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 via 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. 

Pictures in Discussion Boards

If you need to add a picture to a discussion you are unable to paste in an image.  Instead, click the + icon on the lower right to insert an image and upload the image. 

This tutorial shows how.

Page Summary

This page taught you how to send email directly from within Blackboard. You also learned what discussion forums are and what the difference might be between sending your instructor an email vs. posting on a discussion board. As always, you are reminded to check email frequently so you do not miss any important updates from your classmates or instructor. 

Exercise 5

After you finish this exercise, please go to Step 6