Discussion Forums: Purpose, Practicalities, and Possibilities

Discussion forums are a common tool in the online classroom. From enhancing engagement to making thinking visible and helping build community, discussion forums can have a tremendous impact on your online course. As with any other course element, though, it’s important that you implement forums carefully. To help you with this, we’ve created the following infographic:

When you add a discussion forum to your online course, consider its purpose, practicalities, and possibilities. Purpose: Which learning objective does it access (if any)? Does it build community? It is for reflection? Practicalities: What type of forum should you use? What resources do students need? What criteria should the rubric include? When should the posts and responses be due? Possibilities: How could you be creative with the forum? What authentic resources might you include? How could you incorporate authentic scenarios? How might students take the lead in this activity?

For more information on how you can use discussion forums in your course, we recommend the following:

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