Developing Evidence-Based Criteria for the Design and Use of Online Forums in Higher Education in Hong Kong

Developing Evidence-Based Criteria for the Design and Use of Online Forums in Higher Education in Hong Kong

Carmel McNaught (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), Kin Fai Cheng (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Paul Lam (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-358-6.ch008
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Abstract

This paper describes the evaluation of 13 educational online forums. The forums were classified into structured or free, and teacher-centred or student-centred forums according to the learning designs used to prepare the tasks and the style of online interactions. The study provides empirical data across multiple online forum experiences to better inform the pedagogy of using online forums. Findings are that structured forums generally have a higher quantity and quality of postings than free forums, and that student-centred ones also tend to be more effective than teacher-centred ones in encouraging quality online discussion. Further, through analyzing the evaluation feedback from students and teachers in these cases, the study has identified three key factors that tend to affect forum success – ease of use, clear facilitation and motivation to engage. The centrality of the role of the teacher was confirmed.

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