Discussion forums are one of the most used platforms for online communication and community development. A discussion forum is primarily a text-based mode of communication where someone will post a start to a threaded message and people will respond to that thread. Often, many threads can be going at the same time, with longer-lasting discussions. The design and structure of discussions with guidelines or “rules of the road” are a critical part of an online facilitator’s role.
Your GoalsWeek 1
The Virginia Commonwealth University – Center for Teaching Excellence describes discussion boards as the scene of much of the interaction that occurs between student-to-student and student-to-faculty. It is where the social presence of both faculty and students is most evident. Typically, a course has some sequencing of units or lessons, either by week or by topics. Discussion forums flow from this organization. To achieve the deeper learning desired in any course, many factors have to be considered in constructing your discussion forums.
Why should I use a discussion board? Online discussions are not unlike those conducted within the traditional, face-to-face classroom, and are often seen as more useful for the distance instructor who does not meet students face-to-face. Even the on-campus instructor may find discussion boards useful, however. A few advantages to using discussion boards include:
Chris Weaver from The Discussion Board Book states that student responses don’t just happen, they are carefully planned for by the instructor to illicit the well formed responses.
Please begin by reviewing this discussion guide. The guide has been designed to provide some practical suggestions. A number of topics have been addressed, including: facilitation tips, content area suggestions, time management strategies and much more.