learning, teaching and research (archive)

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Blogs and discussion boards

June 19th, 2008 · No Comments · Teaching & learning

I have recently been helping some colleagues in our Life Long Learning Centre to set up a discussion boards for tutors to share ideas on good teaching practice. We are using an OS product called phpBB installed and administered by our central web team. I thought the system pretty good and have now got an installation of my own to explore.

Use of discussion boards seems to be on the increase again and I wonder if this is a sort of backlash against the relative complexity and time commitment of using communications tools based on blogging functionality. As a great fan of social networking and systems like Elgg and Ning, I have spent the last few years encouraging colleagues to use these in preference to the old fashioned, heavily structures, largely text based threaded message forums. But, for some things, I have found discussion boards in our VLE and Student Portal, the Forums here in Eduspaces (once upon a time) and those available in Ning groups more effective and significantly easier to use. I am gradually forming a better idea of what systems like Elgg are good for and what is better suited to focused threaded discussion. I hope to turn this into some sort of guidelines/best practice document, probably collaboratively written in a Google doc in due course. I would be grateful for any thoughts on this and any observations on your own experience, dear Reader, of the two different systems.

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