After you have created your discussion board(s) in the Control Panel > Course Tool > Discussion Board area, you will need to perform an additional step to make it accessible to students. To do this, you will create a link in the Course Menu. Hover over the plus sign above the course menu and choose Tool Link.
Then give the new link a name (this is how it will appear in the course menu) and select Discussion Board from the Type dropdown menu. Also make sure to check the box to make Available to Users. Click Submit.