In some courses, instructors choose to create an online space where students and faculty can pose and answer questions. This technology has many names: message board, discussion forum, bulletin board, and so on. The way it works is that someone posts a message and others are invited to reply whenever they like. The original message and its replies are called a thread. The communication is asynchronous; participants don’t have to be online at the same time.
A blog can provide similar functionality. After someone publishes a post, others can make comments that evolve into a discussion. An email list is another place where discussion can occur. The instructor can also disallow student posting and create a one-way “announcement list.”
A chat room is different. Chatting is synchronous — all of the participants are online at the same time. Conversation is free-form and the contents are usually not saved.
At Notre Dame
- Sakai Forums tool
- Piazza – can be added to Sakai
- Notre Dame does not officially support this tool
- Google Groups
- Sites.nd.edu – the internal ND blog/website service based on WordPress
- Consultation regarding tools and strategies to promote effective learning