Four Types of Discussion Forums in Online Courses

A key component of any online course is the discussion board.  As online courses have matured, we now realize that not all discussion forums are or should be the same.  Some discussions are for building community; other discussions are for exploring new ideas; others are for applying core concepts; and others are for gathering evidence of understanding.  If the purposes of discussion boards differ, then how we structure, monitor, and evaluate the discussion boards should also differ. Other writers have identified many more purposes for asynchronous discussions (Painter, Coffin, & Hewings, 2003; Grogan, 2005), but in the interests of simplicity, this posting focuses on four types of discussions that can achieve most community and content goals. The table,¬†Four Primary Discussion Types for Online Courses, summarizes the purpose, design, monitoring, evaluation recommendation and faculty…
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