Online Forum Discussion Overview
Through Online Forums, students can have discussions with each other on course-related topics. Students contribute to the discussion by posting messages to an online message board.
A forum has a tree-like directory structure, which can accommodate numerous discussions and sub-discussions (sub-forums) down to a single thread of discussion on a topic. A new discussion initiates a new thread, with as many students joining the discussion and posting topic-related messages as want to comment. A chain of messages then document the conversation and may be archived for a period of time. While online forum discussions are relatively open, students sometimes must log in as authorized participants to post messages, and messages may be reviewed by a moderator before posting.
Through learner to learner discussion, online forums engage students in active learning, and promote growth of collaborative learning communities. Online forum discussion is used widely in Stanford University courses. Stanford’s course management system, CourseWork, offers a software tool for online forums, CourseForum.