Discussion is a powerful tool for online learning. It can help foster a sense of community and encourage peer-to-peer interaction and improve learner engagement. Discussion can take the form of debate or reflective sharing, giving learners the opportunity to expand upon and clarify their understanding of key ideas. It moves beyond more passive learning forms of reading, listening, and watching and allows the learner to actively engage with their peers and teacher. In the same way, it also helps the Tech. student or anyone having something to discuss any topics like – any website issues, SEO issues, Blogging help, about freelancing carrier and else. Better to ask to anyone just share their own issues and experience online and the other people who are from the same fields and also related to your topics will share won issues as well as their own experience about resolution about the same.
An environment on the World Wide Web for holding discussions, or the Web application software used to enable these discussions. An online hub is called a “forum,” where users post messages to hold a discussion around a given topic. In educational contexts, online discussion forums are typically housed within a learning management system.
Why should you use discussion in your online learning?
Online teaching by its nature involves students and teachers interacting at a spatial, and often temporal, distance. Without the benefits of being in the same physical space at the same time, online learning might feel like a poor alternative to in-person teaching. Not to mention that space and time are not the only distances that online educators must contend with. At any one time, psychological, communicational, emotional, political, and social distances may be present in addition to spatial and temporal.
When interacting with students in discussion forums, teachers can imbue their course with teacher presence. This helps to reassure students that someone is present and gives value to the discussion forums. Discussions also lessen the transactional distance between student and teacher.
When interacting in the discussion forums, you can utilize many different methods to create teacher presence:
• Introductory messages that set up expectations for the course
• Individual responses to learner comments and/or posts (depending on cohort size)
• General feedback based on common themes and ideas present in learner responses (ideal for larger cohorts – can be pinned to the top of the forum)
• Audio, video, or text response that addresses common questions presented by cohort
How should we manage discussion forums?
It is important to have a plan and set expectations for learners from the start. You don’t have to be available every hour of every day, but it is important to let students know how often you will be engaging with discussion forums. This will also help you to manage moderation alongside your other teaching responsibilities.
Be clear about what discussion board etiquette looks like. Consider the following:
• Be concise.
• Advance the conversation.
• Respond with points raised in their posts.
• Reference course concepts in your posts.
• Be considerate, respectful, and encouraging
• Use appropriate language.
• Consider the aim of each discussion forum.
Remember, you don’t have to respond to every individual post if that is not appropriate to the aim of the individual discussion forum. Clear, concise, and general feedback can be as informative for learners as individual feedback.
Sources: Online research ..
25 thoughts on “The importance of online discussion forums”
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