Posting YouTube Videos in Blackboard Discussions

Do you currently use the discussion board tool in Blackboard? If so, you may be looking for ways to increase student engagement and participation inside your discussion forums. A common complaint about discussion boards is that unless they are graded or required by the instructor, students do not want to participate. The conversations between students are full of flattery and follow the leader, and often lack the depth that is found in the face-to-face classroom environment.

One possible solution is through the use of YouTube video postings to the discussion board in place of the traditional text responses. To set this up, students will need to create their own YouTube channel using a Google Account. Luckily, anyone can create a Gmail account or for added features, BU students and faculty are also able to set up Google Apps for Education accounts through BU: (

Once a YouTube channel is created, students can upload their video from either a smartphone or computer to their YouTube channel and copy the video’s Share URL into the Blackboard discussion board thread by clicking on the “Insert/Edit Embedded Media” button. Students who are concerned about posting personal information on YouTube have the option of saving videos as “unlisted.”


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Hello from Boston YouTube video

Video postings are effective in an “Introduce Yourself” forum, which can be assigned to students at the beginning of the semester. Student assignments can include responses to their classmates’ videos with text comments or their own video post. Students connect with peers on a more personal level, which could aid in increasing overall student engagement throughout the semester. Video posts also work well in an “Announcements From Your Instructor” forum, a space for regular reminders or messages from the course instructor, replacing a weekly recap email.

The best part about this feature is that it’s already built into the content editor in Blackboard, so there is no setup required! Simply include instructions explaining how to create a YouTube channel and insert the Share URL into the discussion thread. Another positive: YouTube is easy to use and your students will likely already be familiar with its functionality.