The advent of new learning platforms such as Blackboard facilitate the reflective learning by allowing more time spent in the community and less seat time required in the classroom. Students can respond asynchronously to questions posed by the instructor. An effective discussion board should be grade weighted based on the importance you ascribe to the activity. Do not assume your students will write without a grade associated with their contributions. Many faculty recommend a minimum of two responses per thread and there are some tools that will assist in the grading (see Online Teaching Tips for more on this).