Learn about SharePoint 2013 Discussion Boards with SharePoint Institute’s own Executive Director, Tom Robbins.
One of the valuable tools for engaging teams is the Discussion Board app in SharePoint 2013. Discussion Board apps were available in earlier versions of SharePoint and continue to be one of the robust and useful tools for facilitating team collaboration. In this video, I will show you how to create a discussion board, walk through some of the features and show you how awesome it is to connect discussion boards to outlook.
We’ll start out here in this demo site and just like creating any app, you’ll go to site settings and add an app. Search for the Discussion app. Add Discussion Board and name it (“Team Discussion” in this case). Inside, notice it is just a specially formatted list and it comes with a couple of views to get you started. Create a new discussion and type in a subject line (“Favorite SharePoint Features”) and body text. If it’s a question, you can check the question box and that will allow you to do some filtering later between questions and non-question discussions.
Now we have a discussion on our discussion board and anyone on our team can come along and click on this discussion. From here they can add a reply. As a creator of this discussion, I can mark a response as a best reply. Notice, when anyone comes into this discussion now, that reply is listed at the top.
You can create a second discussion that is a question and check the question box at the end. The reason you mark it as a question is because one of the many views you can select is to see ‘answered and unanswered questions’. If you select the filter on unanswered questions, you’ll see the discussion board you just created.
In the reply box, you are able to embed links. When an answer gets marked as a ‘best reply’, that tells SharePoint that this question has been answered. If you go back to the discussion boards and filter on unanswered questions, it’ll show that there are none, because that question is now under answered.
You can also change the view to recent posted discussions, featured discussions, or your own discussions. To mark a discussion as a ‘featured discussion’, go in to the discussion and click on the three dots in the original post and mark as featured.
That allows a discussion to bubble up to the top when you click on featured discussions.
Because this is a list, you can add your own metadata and lifecycle management tools using columns. Under the list tab, click on the drop down menu next to ‘create column’ and choose management. This management view shows you the data as a list.
Moderation is the ability to mark something as featured or unfeatured. This changes the metadata shown at the end of the list.
Switch back into subject view with the drop down menu. For specific conversations you can also create an alert by clicking on the three dots again and selecting Alert Me. This opens the alert management screen.
An important feature is the ability to connect to Outlook. On the List menu, click ‘connect to outlook’. Once it’s connected to Outlook, you don’t need to have SharePoint open. You can go into Outlook now and participate in these discussions. They’re listed right below your inbox. You can expand the discussion in outlook and see all of the replies. To reply, pick a discussion and on the tool bar, hit post reply. The reply is a two-way sync back to SharePoint.
Discussion boards are very useful and are something you would immediately post on your home page to facilitate engagement within your team.
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