How can I offer my students real-time online office hours?
Use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra found under ‘Tools’ on your module. Every module has a ‘Course Room’ . The course room is an open session dedicated to your course, provides you and your students a convenient launch point for classes or impromptu meetings. Select Session options menu to join the session.
This opens a panel with the information to you need to join the session. You will need to tell your students when you will be available.
course room
As the Course Room is an open space which any student can join it is not suitable for confidential meetings. You may need to create a Session and send the joining link to your student. Please refer to the ‘How to create a session in Collaborate’ guide.
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How can I create a discussion board to stay in contact with students and answer their questions?
To set up a discussion board go to the Control Panel, click on Tools and select Discussion Board. Then click on ‘Create Forum’
Give the discussion board a title and any further information, click on Submit. 
Board title
Discussion board
The discussion board is commonly accessed from the course menu, although you can provide a link to it in another course area, such as in a content area.
The Discussion Board page contains a list of all the forums you’ve created. You must first create one or more forums before users can start message threads. For more information please see Blackboard’s
Discussions webpage
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How can I use a discussion board to stay in contact with students and answer their questions?
Login to Blackboard and go to your module.
1. Open a thread inside a forum.
2. On the thread’s page, you can view the text of the post and
information
3. Select Reply.
4. If needed, edit the Subject. Type your reply in the Message box.
5. After the Message box, you can attach a file. Select Browse My Computer to upload a file from your computer.
6. Select Save Draft to store a draft of the post or select Submit to
publish your reply.
For more information please see Blackboard’s Discussions webpage
Message box
 
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How can I create a discussion board to stay in contact with students and answer their questions?
ULTRA
On the Course Content page, select the plus sign wherever you want to add a  discussion. Select Create > Participation and Engagement > Discussion.
discussion setting
Type a meaningful title to help students find the right discussion in the content list. If you don’t add a title, “New Discussion” and the date appear on the main discussion page.
Make an initial post to start the discussion. Include guidelines and expectations to get students off to a good start. You can use the options in the editor to format your text.
You can show or hide the discussion from your students. You can edit this option at any time. New discussions are hidden by default. For more information on Discussions please see
Blackboard’s ULTRA: Discussions webpage
 
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How can I use a discussion board to stay in contact with students and answer their questions?
ULTRA
You can respond to a discussion from the Course Content page or from the discussions page.
The discussions page shows all the discussions available in your course at once. Select a discussion to join in. New responses and replies are highlighted so you can see what’s changed since you last visited the discussion. You can reply to the initial discussion topic, your students’ responses, and replies to those responses. You can use the options in the editor to format text.
For more information please see Blackboard’s Ultra Discussions webpage
Case Study
 
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