Making the Most of Online Discussion: A Retrospective Analysis

Tracy Smith
Appalachian State University

Discussion forums are often a primary tool used for teaching and learning in asynchronous online courses. In this article, the author shares her experiences using discussion forums to promote learning, teacher presence, and community. In a retrospective microanalysis of discussion forums posts and interactions, the author identified five major purposes for discussion forums. Here, she details the rationale, mechanics, and interactions yielded for each type. Specific language of forum prompts, as well as teacher and student posts and interactions, are provided so that readers can, if interested, apply and/or modify the forum types.

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