Discussion Boards


Context

Discussion Boards within the virtual mentoring platform serve as interactive communication spaces where mentors and mentees can engage in discussions, share insights, ask questions, and collaborate. These boards provide a structured and organized environment for mentoring program participants to connect and exchange ideas.

The benefits of Discussion Boards in a virtual mentoring platform are numerous. Here are some key advantages:

1. Facilitate knowledge sharing: Discussion Boards enable mentees, mentors, and program administrators to share valuable knowledge, experiences, and expertise. Participants can ask questions, seek guidance, and receive input from others, fostering a culture of learning and growth.

2. Foster collaboration and networking: Discussion Boards promote collaboration among participants by providing a platform to connect and engage with others in the mentoring program. Mentees can learn from different mentors, mentors can exchange insights, and participants can build meaningful connections beyond their immediate mentor-mentee relationship.

3. Encourage ongoing engagement: Discussion Boards offer a continuous space for participants to remain engaged throughout the mentoring program. They provide a venue for ongoing conversations, allowing participants to stay connected and involved beyond scheduled meetings or sessions.

Maximizing the Benefits of Discussion Boards

Here are some tips for program administrators on making good use of discussion boards within the virtual mentoring platform:

1. Establish clear guidelines: Set clear guidelines and expectations for participants regarding the purpose and appropriate use of the discussion boards. Clearly communicate the rules for respectful and constructive engagement to ensure a positive and inclusive discussion environment.

2. Encourage active participation: Actively encourage participants to engage in discussions on the boards. Start and contribute to conversations, ask thought-provoking questions, and provide timely feedback to stimulate engagement. Recognize and appreciate valuable contributions to foster a sense of community and motivation.

3. Foster a supportive atmosphere: Create a supportive and safe space where participants feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and seeking guidance. Encourage open and respectful dialogue, and promptly address any inappropriate behavior or violations of guidelines.

4. Curate relevant topics: Identify and curate relevant discussion topics that align with the goals of the mentoring program. Provide prompts or resources to kick-start discussions and guide participants in exploring specific themes or areas of interest.

5. Monitor and moderate discussions: Regularly monitor discussions on the boards to ensure compliance with guidelines and to maintain a productive atmosphere. Intervene when necessary to address any conflicts or misinformation and facilitate healthy and meaningful conversations.

6. Foster mentor-mentee connections: Encourage mentors and mentees to actively participate in discussions, share insights, and engage in mentorship-related conversations. The discussion boards can facilitate connections beyond one-on-one mentoring relationships and promote a broader sense of community and peer learning.

7. Leverage archived content: Utilize the archived content from previous discussions to create a knowledge base for future participants. 

8. Seek participant feedback: Regularly seek feedback from participants on their experience with the discussion boards. Gather suggestions for improvement, identify any challenges or concerns, and use this feedback to refine and optimize the usage of discussion boards within the mentoring program.

By implementing these tips, program administrators can maximize the benefits of discussion boards and create an engaging and enriching experience for all participants within the virtual mentoring platform.

Examples of Discussion Board Topics

Here are some example discussion board topics for different mentoring program contexts:

Career Mentoring Program:

  • Exploring Different Career Paths: Discussing various career options, industries, and job roles to help mentees gain insights into different career paths.
  • Professional Development Strategies: Sharing tips, resources, and experiences related to building skills, networking, and advancing in a chosen career.
  • Work-Life Balance: Discussing strategies and insights on maintaining a healthy work-life balance and managing career demands.

Youth Mentoring Program:

  • Goal Setting and Achievement: Engaging in discussions around setting goals, creating action plans, and tracking progress to help youth mentees achieve their personal and academic objectives.
  • Building Confidence and Self-Esteem: Sharing advice, stories, and activities to boost self-confidence, overcome challenges, and develop a positive self-image.
  • Peer Pressure and Decision Making: Exploring strategies to navigate peer pressure, make informed choices, and develop critical decision-making skills.
  • Craft and DIY Projects: Encourage mentors and mentees to engage in hands-on craft activities, such as making jewelry, creating handmade cards, or building models. Discuss different craft ideas, materials, and step-by-step instructions to inspire collaborative projects
  • Outdoor Adventures: Share ideas for outdoor activities that mentors and mentees can enjoy together, such as hiking, gardening, or exploring local parks. Discuss safety tips, equipment recommendations, and strategies for connecting with nature and promoting physical well-being.

Post-Secondary Education Mentoring Program:

  • College/University Selection Process: Discussing factors to consider when choosing a college or university, sharing experiences, and providing guidance on the selection process.
  • Study Techniques and Time Management: Sharing effective study techniques, time management strategies, and tips for academic success in higher education.
  • Career Planning and Internships: Exploring career goals, discussing internships, cooperative education programs, and networking opportunities to enhance career prospects.

Remember to adapt these topics based on the specific goals, objectives, and target audience of your mentoring program.


Create a Discussion Board

2.0 To initiate the creation of a fresh Discussion Board, simply locate and select the "Discussions" option situated on the left side of the page.

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2.1 Click on New Discussion

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A) Name: The title of the Discussion Board.
B) Description: This section is dedicated to introducing the purpose of the Discussion Board, along with any necessary guidelines and expectations. The description box provides only a single font size option. Nevertheless, program administrators have the flexibility to format the content using Microsoft Word, selecting their preferred font and size, and subsequently copying and pasting the formatted text into the description box.

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C) Please select participants: Choose the specific role(s) for which the Discussion Board has been created. Only the selected roles will have access to view and engage in the discussion.
D) Select custom fields: If you have created custom fields for user profiles, you can enable a discussion to be accessible only to users who have selected a specific option in the custom field. For instance, you could make the discussion available only to users who have chosen "he/him/his" in the "Pronouns" custom field. This feature is optional.
E) Add checkmark if emails shouldn't be sent: By checking this box, program members will not receive any notifications via pushed notifications or email regarding the creation of a new Discussion Board. If you wish to notify program members, please ensure that the box remains unchecked.

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Each field is duplicated for a French translation and is labelled with the word "French". i.e. Name French, Description French etc.. The use of the translation fields is optional.

2.3 Click New Discussion to finalize the creation of the Discussion Board.

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Additional Information - Formatting the Body of the Description

Utilize the toolbar located at the top of the description box to format your text. You can apply formatting options such as bold or italic styling, create bullet points, add hyperlinks, insert images, and more.

 

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Edit/Delete/Archive a Discussion Board
Edit a Discussion Board

3.0 To edit a Discussion Board, locate and select the "Discussions" option situated on the left side of the page.

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3.1 To update a specific Discussion Board, simply click on the "Edit" option associated with that particular Discussion Board.

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3.2 Upon clicking "Edit," you will be directed to a page where you can modify the Name, Description, and Access settings of the board. Make the necessary adjustments according to your requirements, and once finished, click on New Discussion to save the changes you have made.

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Note: Depending on your program's notification requirements, you can choose to either enable or disable the "Add checkmark if emails shouldn't be sent" option. This allows you to decide whether program members should be notified of the change or not.

Delete a Discussion Board

3.3 To delete a Discussion Board, locate and select the "Discussions" option situated on the left side of the page.

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3.4 To delete a specific Discussion Board, simply click on the "Delete" option associated with that particular Discussion Board.

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3.5 A dialogue box will come up asking you to confirm the deletion. Click OK.

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Archive a Discussion Board

If there comes a time when you no longer require a discussion board but would like to retain it for future reference, the archive function proves to be quite useful in such situations.

3.6 To archive a Discussion Board, click on "Discussions" on the left-hand side of the page.

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3.7 Click on "Archive" on the Discussion Board you wish to archive. 

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3.8 A dialogue box will come up asking you to confirm. Click OK.

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3.9 To access archived content, go to your admin dashboard by clicking on the Admin tab on the left-hand side of the page.