Discussion Boards

Last Updated: November 3rd, 2016

Tool Types: ,

Overview

A discussion board is a virtual forum for holding discussions and posting content. Most discussion boards are asynchronous forums that resemble bulletin boards and blogs. Instructors and/or students can create topics called “threads” and can then post comments, media, and information under the thread and in response to other users.

Discussion Boards are flexible tools that allow the moderator to set the parameters for the discussion board such as whether or not participants will be allowed to create new threads, post anonymously, change a post once it has been posted, comment on other posts, post media, or delete posts, as well as who will be allowed to access the discussion board.

Discussion Board tools are often integrated in Learning Management Systems.

Application to All Courses

Assessment:

  • Allows instructors to assess class participation.
  • Allows instructors to assess understanding of a concept or topic.

Learning Environment:

  • Use of discussion boards creates a learning community.
  • Often the discussions take the place of lectures. This creates a situation in which the instructor is viewed as a “guide on the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.”
  • Guest “speakers” can participate in question and answer sessions on discussion boards in asynchronous time.
  • Gives students who might not otherwise participate a safe environment to voice opinions.

Collaboration:

  • Students can participate in groups to present on a topic.
  • Students can collaborate to present and defend an argument.

Getting Started

Discussion Board tools are usually integrated into Learning Management Systems (LMSs).

To utilize a discussion board, the moderator or instructor

  • Creates a new discussion board.
  • Sets the parameters for the discussion board such as whether or not participants will be allowed to create new threads, post anonymously, change their post once it has been posted, comment on other posts, post media, or delete posts, as well as who will be allowed to access the discussion board.
  • The moderator may then monitor the discussion board for proper posts, to post feedback, or participate in the discussion.

For further details on best practices when using Discussion Boards, visit the CITT Online Teaching Resources page on Discussion Boards.

Discussion Boards can be utilized in a number of ways including:

 

Additional Resources

  • Martyn, Margie A. (2005) Mastering Online Discussion Boards. Educause Quarterly 4:61-62, available at http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM05410.pdf.
    • A resource guide for instructors.
  • Suler, John. (2004) Using Discussion Boards in Teaching. CyberPsychology & Behavior 7(4): 395-401
    • Article on student behavior in online forms and practical suggestions for the instructor.

For further details on best practices when using Discussion Boards, visit the CITT Online Teaching Resources page on Discussion Boards.

 

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