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Using discussion boards
Issue 4: Communicating online with discussion boardsRead now
Conducting effective online discussions
This episode will highlight several strategies to help you manage online discussions more effectively, and make them more beneficial for your students.View now
A discussion board is a versatile asynchronous communication tool that can facilitate general classroom dialogue, targeted learning activities and group collaboration spaces.
General forums can be set up to manage questions and discussions around assignments, technical support or simply to provide a student lounge where students can connect with one another. Most of the time students are able to support and respond to each others questions, however moderation of these forums will ensure correct information is being shared and that students are abiding by online netiquette guidelines.
A variety of learning activities can be designed to foster the achievement of specific learning outcomes. Icebreakers, debates, reflections and directed discussion are some common activities that can be carried out in a discussion board environment.
Australian Flexible Learning Framework
From Lurkers to Posters [PDF] - This resource will help you understand how your students interact and learn from discusion boards as well as provide you with some useful strategies to get students engaging.
Designing and developing eLearning provide some guides on integrating discussion board activities as well as suggested assessment rubrics.
COFA.online (ALTC project)
Gilly Salmons' e-tivities: The key to active online learning is a useful resource in designing and moderating effective discussion board activities.
The group tool in Blackboard allows student groups to be assigned to a project space where among other things provide a private discussion board only accessible to them and the lecturer.
Find out more about group work and group tools.
SNAPP is a web browser tool developed by the University of Wollongong that generates a visual representation of discussion board collaboration. The visual representation of forum interactions provide an opportunity for teachers to rapidly identify patterns of user behaviour.