Ultimate 16 tools for online discussion board in eLearning - F. Learning Studio (2023)

Getting students to join in class discussions is difficult enough. It can be even more trying to encourage discussion online – outside of the actual classroom. That’s why e-learning usually lacks interaction, engagement and motivation. But this can be changed with some modifications and with the help of useful tools for online discussion board.

Similar to tools that are being employed in schools and actual classrooms to interact and collaborate on active learning efforts (projects, assignments, etc.), tools for online study offer a wide range of functionality, from whiteboards, chatting, editing collaborative documents, to full capabilities of Learning Management System, and even gaming!

Many of them are free, while others may cost users a small fee. Or they offer basic capabilities for free users, then add higher functionalities through paid options.

There’s always something here for anyone who’s looking for an ultimate discussion tool for their own online discussion boards. Here are a few top options elected by the majority of teachers.

Table Of Contents

  1. WebEx
  2. Turnitin
  3. Facebook
  4. StatPlanet
  5. Scratch
  6. Domo Animate
  7. Google Drive
  8. Padlet
  9. NowComment
  10. Backchannel Chat
  11. Wiggio
  12. Chalkup
  13. Canvas Discussions
  14. Collaborize Classroom
  15. Eduflow
  16. Skype
  17. Conclusion


WebExis a free tool for video, multi-featured phones, and web conferencing. It’s suitable for students, faculties, and staffs due to its integrated chat function. Much similar to Google Hangouts, Adobe Connect, or Skype, users of WebEx can host and join in audio and video meetings, presentations, and conferences.

Via WebEx, the lecture slides can be shown on student devices and. In turn, students can communicate in real time with each other, their instructor and presenter by chatting. Here are WebEx’s capabilities:

(Video) Interactive Video for eLearning, Simulation Training, and Beyond (7/28/21)

  • Connect with the user’s chosen device or call in via their tool-installed phone
  • Record discussion audio and video (for later use, the download option is available)
  • Facilitate an on-screen chat among e-students during a session
  • Start instantly or schedule presentations in advance
  • Share the user’s screen, webcam in real-time

Recommended reading:
> What makes a good learning environment for online courses?


Though Turnitin is not a free app and comes with limited grades (3-12), its uses are well worth the paid rate. In addition to the common function as an efficient online plagiarism detector, Turnitin hasother lesser-known tools, especially a built-in discussion platform.While such a discussion tool may not be Turnitin’s strong point, it does offer options regarding teacher-moderation and anonymous posting.


For years, lots of teachers and students use Facebook as a place to exchange and study from each other. Still quite a favored tool these years, though it is only for people over 13. If youopen a group pagededicated to your class, you’ll get an online discussion board of your own to collaborate freely.


Old users may recognize it with the old name – StatPlanet Map Maker. This free software is awesome for customizing interactive maps. Additionally, this software offers the option of bringing in interactive diagrams to make feature-rich infographics.


A creative, authoring tool like Scratch helps users develop content – those that pass the barriers of conventional page-turners. Moreover, users of Scratch can create their own interactive animation, art, stories, music, etc. then share their works on the website.

Maybe you are interested in:
> How to make animation for educational purposes work?

(Video) Resources For Online Learning

Domo Animate

This is a digital storytelling tool for instructors. Teachers can create their own Domo adventures in a few minutes with the user-friendly animation studio. It’s free and rather easy to use. All you need is to import your images and a song/melody to go with the slideshow. The user’s chosen photos will be the protagonist of their own identified Domo adventure.

Read more:
> 7 tips for outstanding visual communication in e-learning

Google Drive

Even with its default capacity, Google Drive’s storage is large enough for the user to collaboratively edit or comfortably share Google Docs with anyone as long as they have a Google account. With the assistance of Google Drive, students and teachers are able to manage worksheets documents, interactive classroom projects, and activities collaboratively.


In an actual classroom, there’s a teaching strategy called “Graffiti Wall activity” to allow pupils to brainstorm their ideas, then write them on chart paper. And Padlet is Gravity Wall activity’s digital equivalent. Padlet is a virtual spacewhere students can post their questions, thoughts, and ideas for discussion.

Just think of Padlet like a large sheet of paper and the students will fill in this virtual paper withimages, connections, words, questions, quotes as per the teacher’s requirement. Then, learners will develop further discussion in pairs, groups, etc.

NowComment is a free platform for document, discussion, and annotation. It allows learners to mark, discuss the texts, and it is often used in grades K-12. Users only need to upload data in any form of formats to make an area for online discussion and leave the rest to NowComment. Text paragraphs will be numbered and logically arranged, as the document and comment panel will be placed on opposite sides. The instructor can decide students’ rights to upload their essays and comment on a text or their peers’ reviews.

Backchannel Chat

Backchannel Chat is a payment-required tool for grades 7–12. The tool works well as an online discussion board. Its restrained online discussions are supposed to engage learners and urge them to share.

Setup is quite simple. Instructors just need to sign up,label their chat, thenshare the URL with their students. Every learner only needs one name to take part in the chat group, no need to provide any other personal information. Teachers can control the discussions, remove inappropriate messages, and even “lock” the chat group at any time.


Wiggio provides options like establishing meetings, calendars, to-do lists, polls, messaging, and file sharing. Conveniently, this is mostly a free workgroup tool. That’s because the primary functionality is totally free while a premium service – which best suits organizations seeking for priority support and a registered workspace, will be paid-required.


Chalkup is a free learning management system (LMS) for teacher – since school pricing varies, from grades 6-12. This is the first benefit. Another trait that makes this platform unique among the vast market of LMSes is that all of Chalkup’s features are framed specifically around collaboration and discussion.

In addition to discussions, the platform is great for grading and online assignments. Chalkup should be an ideal choice for any teacher who happens to be searching for an LMS for their class.

(Video) Unique Online Learning Assessment Ideas

Canvas Discussions

TheCanvas Discussions tool is employed to host, organize and moderate an online threaded, written discussion with both posts and replies from each student. Class discussions can be limited to small groups or can be “open for anyone” for the whole course.

Canvas Discussions offers an integrated structure for class discussions, enabling both teachers and pupils to begin and contribute to the discussion topics as many times and information as they wish. Also, the tool allows two or a group of people to interactively communicate, so all users can take part in a conversation with the entire class.

Moreover, Canvas Discussions can be established within learner groups. Also, for teacher’s grading purposes, the tool can be built as an assignment as it can seamlessly integrate with the Canvas Gradebook. Otherwise, it can serve as a simple forum for current and topical occasions.

Collaborize Classroom

This online platform is free. And it’s suitable for students and teachers from grades 7–12 to boasts a various collection of cooperative learning features, including online discussions.

These kinds of “structured discussions” can take many different forms, from simple multiple-choice quizzes, polls, to open-chat forums and even options to “vote or suggest” according to other learners’ responses.

Other than that, this site could be a central online meeting place for the real-life classroom. So, teachers can post files, records, and other study-related information.


Eduflow is also a free learning experience platform to run online learning flows including discussions and other activities. They really focus on scaffolded online discussions. You can ask participants to answer specific questions, split them into discussion groups and require that they both post topics and comment before completing the activity. The power of Eduflow is that you can combine the discussion with other learning activities such as videos, peer reviews and submissions.


We’re so familiar with this world-famous chat tool developed by Microsoft. Skype offers group conferences tools that can be specifically effective for remote partakers to come together.

For instance, Skype can be a huge asset if you’re considering working together with a remote classroom. The tool is also helpful in connecting students, who might not be able to attend class for some unexpected reason, with the classroom to join the discussion or other activity.


Whether you choose to teach online completely or add some sessions of online discussion to a traditional class, online discussion boards are gradually becoming fundamental in college courses.

Thanks to the helpful tools we’ve shown you above, students and teachers both can become more interactive and engaging in online discussion boards. They can be a practical complement to face-to-face classes as well as a powerful foundation of online classes. In fact, many students even prefer online discussion to in-person discussion, most likely due to the chance to communicate more freely.

(Video) Strategies for Online Discussion Forums

Read Further:

  • How to add meaningful interactions into your eLearning course
  • How to write learning objectives for online learning courses effectively
  • 3 educational animation examples for online courses
  • Case study: Combine talking-head videos and animated videos for better learning outcomes


What are discussion boards in online learning? ›

The discussion board is the one space built into the course management system where students can see and interact with each other's work. Make the most of that possibility by creating a discussion topic where each student starts a thread that showcases their work during the semester.

What are discussion tools? ›

What are Discussion Tools. Discussion tools allow for conversation or dialogue between learners through mediums such as text, video, audio, and imagery. Posts are made by individual contributors, which can be viewed and responded to by others.

Is online discussion boards active learning? ›

This occurs much more frequently in discussion board postings than in face-to-face discussions, largely because of the extra time a student has to think about their response. The use of discussion boards is an active method of learning, contrasted with the traditional lecture model that is much more passive.

What are the 5 types of discussion? ›

Description These five types of open-ended, level three questions (enduring, critical, hypothetical, metacognitive, & socratic) provide students with structured ways to format ideas and facilitate higher-level discussion.

What are 4 types of discussion? ›

They deliberate, dialogue, declare, or debate.

How do you answer a discussion board? ›

How to Write a Strong Discussion Post
  1. Understand the Prompt. Preparation is key. ...
  2. Refer to the Scoring Rubric. Every discussion board ought to have a scoring rubric. ...
  3. Present Evidence and Examples. ...
  4. Draft the Answer before Posting. ...
  5. Express Yourself Clearly. ...
  6. Respond in a Timely Manner. ...
  7. Be Respectful. ...
  8. Make it Meaningful.
4 May 2019

How do you make a discussion board effective? ›

10 Tips for Effective Online Discussions
  1. Convey Clear Expectations. ...
  2. Adjust to the Discussion Board. ...
  3. Clarify Your Role. ...
  4. Provide Feedback and Coaching. ...
  5. Track Participation. ...
  6. Offer Groups and Discussion Board Alternatives. ...
  7. Create Questions You Care About. ...
  8. Select Discussion Leaders.
21 Nov 2018

How can I improve my discussion board? ›

5 Ways to Improve Online Discussion Boards
  1. Respond to Everyone. It can be rather intimidating to be the first one to answer a question in a large group. ...
  2. Give Specific Instructions. ...
  3. Challenge Students. ...
  4. Assign Responsibilities. ...
  5. Work with Small Groups.
21 May 2019

What are the 3 types of discussion question? ›

THREE TYPES OF QUESTIONS: 1. Factual 2. Interpretive 3. Evaluative Page 5 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Page 6 FACTUAL QUESTIONS Everyone will eventually agree on the answer.

How can I improve my online discussion? ›

Online Discussions: Tips for Students
  1. Develop a thesis, argument, or question. ...
  2. Use keywords in your title. ...
  3. Encourage discussion. ...
  4. Make postings short, clear, and purposeful. ...
  5. Your stance need not be forever. ...
  6. Other practical considerations for discussion board postings. ...
  7. Make the context clear. ...
  8. Add value to the conversation.

How is discussion useful as a tool of learning? ›

Whole-class discussions can encourage students to learn from one another and to articulate course content in their own words. While generally not conducive to covering large amounts of content, the interactive dynamic of discussion can help students learn and motivate them to complete homework and to prepare for class.

Which board is best for online teaching? ›

2 Completely FREE Online Whiteboard Apps for Teaching
  • Canvas for Chrome. Canvas for Chrome is a barebones, no-frills application. ...
  • Google Jamboard. If you have a Google account (and we all do) then Jamboard is just as accessible as Canvas, but offers vastly more options. ...
  • Kaltura. ...
  • Miro. ...
  • Whiteboard.fi. ...
  • Ziteboard. ...
  • Whiteboard.

What are the benefits of online discussions? ›

7 Advantages of Online Discussion
  • Convenience. Online discussions generally can be set for a time convenient for everyone. ...
  • More Focused. ...
  • More in Depth. ...
  • More Introverted Students Participate More. ...
  • More Diverse Perspectives. ...
  • Increased Ability to Limit Remarks That Aren't Constructive. ...
  • More Readily Available Resources.

How do I create an online discussion board? ›

How to Create a Forum Website
  1. Pick a location to host your forum.
  2. Choose a software to create your forum website.
  3. Organize your forum's structure.
  4. Design your forum's theme.
  5. Create user rules for your forum website.
  6. Start conversations with interesting discussion topics.
  7. Publish your forum on your website.
4 Aug 2021

What are the 3 C's of group discussion? ›

The three "Cs" which rank you high on this parameter are clarity (the main points to be discussed), content (the vertical depth in each point) and confidence.

What are 4 effective group discussion techniques? ›

  • Model the behavior and attitudes you want group members to employ. ...
  • Use encouraging body language and tone of voice, as well as words. ...
  • Give positive feedback for joining the discussion. ...
  • Be aware of people's reactions and feelings, and try to respond appropriately. ...
  • Ask open-ended questions. ...
  • Control your own biases.

What are five planning steps of discussion? ›

CCSS: Five Steps to Get Students Involved in Class Discussions
  • Information evaluation.
  • Productive collaboration.
  • Attentive listening and subsequent expression of ideas.
  • The ability to use and adapt media and visual displays in context.
  • Argumentation.
  • Synthesis of multiple-source information.

What are the 4 basic steps in lecture discussion strategy? ›

Operationally, the manipulation of the lecture-discussion includes four steps as follows: (1) introduction and review; (2) the presentation of information: (3) the monitoring of comprehension; and (4) integration which ends with the closing.

What are the elements of a good discussion? ›

Discussion ElementsLooks Like
Active Participation (respond to ideas and share feelings)Eyes on speaker Hands to yourself Hands empty Talking one at a time Head nodding
Asking Questions for ClarificationListening Hands empty
Piggybacking Off Others' IdeasListening Paying attention
5 more rows

How do you start the answer in a panel discussion? ›

Instead, while answering try to maintain a neutral stance and make eye contact with everyone during the panel discussion. Here's what you can do. Begin answering the question by looking at the person who asked. Then slowly as you explain, turn and look at everyone squarely, even if one of them looks down to take notes.

How do I start a discussion assignment? ›

A discussion essay is where you take a position on an issue. To compose it, start by agreeing with a particular position, investigating your point, and illustrate your exposition prior to launching into the introduction and your thesis statement.

How do you engage students in a discussion board? ›

Asking the right questions, spacing out response deadlines, giving learners topic options, and facilitating peer conversations can engage learners and turn lackluster “discussions” into insightful conversations with multiple perspectives.

How do you engage students in online discussions? ›

Nine simple ways to increase student engagement in online discussion forums:
  1. Attach Photos, Images, Videos, Tweets, Links, etc,: ...
  2. Read All the Posts: ...
  3. Respond to Students with a Question, Affirmation, or Feedback: ...
  4. Ask Questions and Challenge Your Students to Think: ...
  5. If a Discussion Is Lagging, Try Re-Framing the Question:
22 Feb 2022

Why discussion method is an effective strategy? ›

Using discussions as a primary teaching method allows you to stimulate critical thinking. As you establish a rapport with your students, you can demonstrate that you appreciate their contributions at the same time that you challenge them to think more deeply and to articulate their ideas more clearly.

What are the characteristics of an effective online discussion? ›

Online discussion forums are a major collaboration component in most online and hybrid courses.
Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind as you design your online discussion forums.
  • Develop creative questions. ...
  • Define clear expectations. ...
  • Provide feedback. ...
  • Assign peer groups. ...
  • Track student participation.
18 Nov 2019

How do you prepare and moderate online discussions for online learning? ›

Feel free to quote readings you feel might be of interest to others in your group. Try to remain focused on the topic. You are free to start your own topics, but if you do so, please do not post these as responses to the main topic. Instead, start a new thread by posting a message at the top level of the forum.

How do you lead a successful class discussion? ›

Highlight one main question or no more than three main points. Focus on ideas and skills.  Tell students why the topics or questions are relevant to mastering the material, to understanding larger issues, and to doing well in the class (writing the paper).  Define terms.

What are discussion techniques? ›

Discussion methods are a variety of forums for open-ended, collaborative exchange of ideas among a teacher and students or among students for the purpose of furthering students thinking, learning, problem solving, understanding, or literary appreciation.

What are the types of discussion methods? ›

These different types of discussions serve different purposes, are useful in different phases of a lesson or unit, and have different characteristics depending on their purpose.
  • Discussion Type Summary. Initial Ideas Discussions. ...
  • Building Understanding Discussion. Purposes/Goals. ...
  • Consensus Discussion. ...
  • Consensus Discussion.

What are the 5 primary types of questions? ›

Types of questions. There are 5 basic types of questions: factual, convergent, divergent, evaluative and combination. Factual questions solicit reasonably simple, straightforward answers based on obvious facts or awareness.

What is the main purpose of the discussion? ›

The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe the significance of your findings in light of what was already known about the research problem being investigated, and to explain any new understanding or fresh insights about the problem after you've taken the findings into consideration.

What is the main purpose of the discussion section? ›

The discussion section is one of the final parts of a research paper, in which an author describes, analyzes, and interprets their findings. They explain the significance of those results and tie everything back to the research question(s).

What is the best board of education? ›

A revolutionary board technology platform for all internal and external evaluations. The Better Boards platform is at the heart of our proven evaluation approach for governing and management boards/Executive Committees.

Which is the best educational board in the world? ›

  • United States. The United States, a forerunner in contemporary education, provides high-quality education offered by internationally renowned teachers. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • Netherlands. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • Germany. ...
  • Switzerland. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Israel.
25 Mar 2022

Why are discussions important in an online class? ›

The purpose of using discussions in an online course is to provide opportunities for students to interact with each other, the content, and the instructor. A discussion forum is a communication tool for dialogue in an online course. They can be initiated with a structured post and categorized along a message thread.

What are the 10 benefits of online classes? ›

Advantages of Online Learning
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Reduced Costs. ...
  • More Free Time. ...
  • Increased Course Variety. ...
  • Career Advancement Opportunities. ...
  • Increased Collaboration. ...
  • Personalized Education. ...
  • Enhanced Time Management Skills.

How does discussion board help in the day to day learning of the students? ›

Discussion Boards Foster Student-Led Learning

Although I provide the question stem, my students are still the drivers of the conversation. Through their responses to peers' questions, students are able to lead the discussion and pivot it to conversations that they think would aid in their knowledge.

What is the best discussion platform? ›

An overview of the best 13 forum software
  • Joomla.
  • Discourse.
  • Wix.
  • inSided.
  • WordPress.
  • phpBB.
  • Drupal.
  • Invision Community.

Which platform is best for group discussion? ›

Online Discussion Tools: 6 Softwares and 4 Things to Do to Engage your Students
  • 1 – Padlet.
  • 2 – Socrative.
  • 3 – NowComment.
  • 4 – Kialo.
  • 5 – Backchannel Chat.
  • 6 – Flipgrid.
27 Jan 2022

How does a discussion board work? ›

A Discussion Board is an asynchronous communication tool that allows students to collaborate with others through posting or answering questions. Students respond to a discussion board forum topic by creating a thread, or replying to an existing thread.

What are the types of discussion method? ›

These different types of discussions serve different purposes, are useful in different phases of a lesson or unit, and have different characteristics depending on their purpose.
  • Discussion Type Summary. Initial Ideas Discussions. ...
  • Building Understanding Discussion. Purposes/Goals. ...
  • Consensus Discussion. ...
  • Consensus Discussion.

How do you conduct an online discussion? ›

10 Tips for Effective Online Discussions
  1. Convey Clear Expectations. ...
  2. Adjust to the Discussion Board. ...
  3. Clarify Your Role. ...
  4. Provide Feedback and Coaching. ...
  5. Track Participation. ...
  6. Offer Groups and Discussion Board Alternatives. ...
  7. Create Questions You Care About. ...
  8. Select Discussion Leaders.
21 Nov 2018

What are the methods of discussion? ›

Discussion methods are a variety of forums for open-ended, collaborative exchange of ideas among a teacher and students or among students for the purpose of furthering students thinking, learning, problem solving, understanding, or literary appreciation.

What are the 5 methods of teaching? ›

Here are five strategies that proved to be extremely effective in my classroom.
  • Student-Centered Discussions. ...
  • Making Connections. ...
  • Increased Autonomy. ...
  • Building Relationships. ...
  • A Focus on Literacy.

What makes a good online discussion? ›

Encourage discussion

Get others thinking (and writing) by making bold statements or including open-ended questions in your message. Those who post first are most often responded to and cited by others. Remember to check back and see if and how others have responded to your ideas.

What makes a successful discussion? ›

In order for a discussion to be effective, students need to understand the value of actively listening to their peers, tolerating opposing viewpoints, and being open-minded. They also need to recognize the importance of staying focused and expressing themselves clearly.

How do you organize a discussion? ›

In this article, we focus on how to plan a great group discussion.
  1. Set clear objectives. ...
  2. Set a realistic schedule. ...
  3. Invite the right people. ...
  4. Establish the rules of engagement. ...
  5. Be the most prepared participant. ...
  6. Communicate before the session with participants. ...
  7. Arrange the logistics. ...
  8. Set up the room to promote discussion.
9 Aug 2015

Which is a popular online discussion forum? ›

1. Reddit: This world website or online forum aggregates news around the world and creates space for online forum users to hold topical discussions and rate the web content.

How do you start a discussion post example? ›

How should I include in my first post?
  1. Answer the question. Do this first if possible. ...
  2. Give evidence. Provide an explanation for your point of view, and use evidence from your text, notes, or outside research (where appropriate) to support your point.
  3. Explain the connection.
27 Oct 2022


1. Human Factors in Online Learning with Doug Hersh
(California Community Colleges)
2. Effectively Supporting Online Learning Groups in eLearning Systems
(e/merge Africa)
3. 25 Killer Membership Site Ideas!
4. Alternative Assessment Strategies in Online Learning--Greg Kaminski
(Portland Community College)
5. F.L.Y. and S.A.F.E. Online Meeting - June 6, 2020
(Montessori De Sagrada Familia Inc.)
6. Graphic design in eLearning: Common mistakes and how to avoid them
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 12/25/2022

Views: 6003

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.