Expanding the Classroom: Using Online Discussion Forums in College and Professional Development Courses

Expanding the Classroom: Using Online Discussion Forums in College and Professional Development Courses

Shawn McIntosh (Rutgers University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-521-4.ch004
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Abstract

Traditional classroom environments can benefit from using asynchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC) such as an online discussion group (Yahoo! Groups). An online discussion group can “expand the classroom” in a number of ways, such as allowing for student and instructor interaction throughout the week at times convenient to all participants, shifting learning from a teacher-oriented to a network-oriented, collaborative learning environment, and providing rapid teacher feedback to homework that lets students immediately apply what they have learned. This chapter offers concrete advice on techniques to best use online discussion groups in a variety of class types and sizes, and warns of potential pitfalls to be aware of when using them. Evolving functions of Yahoo! Groups and other asynchronous online formats that can further complement the learning experience outside the classroom are also examined.

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