Trying to engage students in your online courses can be a hassle sometimes, with problems arising from the way the course is designed and up to the way you connect with them on a daily basis. Discussion boards, however challenging they might be, offer a good opportunity to extend the learning space beyond the general class contact hours.
Moreover, as a tool for instructor-student and student-student interactions, if properly managed, the discussion boards allow for a timely reflection on course topics, creating a deeper level of learning and understanding of course content.
The overall effectiveness of online discussion boards is dependent on the way they are created and implemented. The How To Make Your Students Participate On The Discussion Board Infographic maps out a few solutions to engage the students more in this online course component.
You may also find valuable the How To Improve Online Discussion Posts article