Using An Online Discussion Benefits You | Blackhat forum
Online discussions, when well-structured, can be an effective way to supplement student learning outside of class; however, Blackhat forums frequently discover that students’ entries do not reflect strong engagement. What went wrong? What steps can you take to make an online discussion forum a more effective learning tool for your students?
Days leading up to the exam because I had encouraged students to post questions to the forum before emailing me. Furthermore, it took me very little time to respond to students’ questions in the online discussion. Because I agreed to contribute only after at least one student responded, I found myself writing very little because most of the previous responders had figured out the correct answers. In subsequent semesters, I requested that two students weigh in before I responded, which reduced my workload.Even more During the second semester that I used the forum, I also informed students that they should expect to wait at least 24 hours for a response from me. While I frequently responded in less than 24 hours, informing students that they should expect to wait meant that by the time I responded to questions, several students had often already weighed in.
Online forums can be used for a variety of purposes, including assisting students in reviewing material prior to an assignment or exam, engaging students in discussion of course material prior to coming to class, and reflecting on material that they have read or worked with outside of class.
Tips for Creating an Active Discussion Forum that Benefits Student Learning
- Consider your student learning objectives. Before deciding to use a discussion forum in your class, consider why a forum is the best tool for achieving your student learning objectives.
- Create incentives for students to participate. Simply creating a forum will not get the conversation started. Consider making participation part of the section or course grade, or come up with another way to motivate students to participate. Offering a forum as a way of preparing students for an assignment or exam, for example, may provide motivation to participate even if the forum does not count toward the students’ grade.
- Make a grading plan. Make it clear to students from the start how and whether you will factor forum use into their grades. Making forum participation part of the grade or offering it as an extra-credit option can provide students with the motivation they need to participate. However, grading a forum can be confusing and time consuming; ensure that you plan ahead of time a grading strategy that is both clear to the students and realistic for you. Please consider whether you will grade on the quality or quantity of student posts, or both. Create a quick method for finding each student’s posts in the forum.
- Select a specific task and provide detailed instructions. If you tell your students to “discuss” class material on the forum, the discussion is likely to fall flat. To make the most of the forum, assign students a specific task to complete in the forum, along with explicit instructions about your expectations for completing that task.
- Share the learning objectives with your students. Communicate to students what you hope they will gain from forum participation and why the forum is the best tool to help them achieve the goals you have set for them. Students will be more invested in the activity if you communicate with them about why they are doing it.
- Set up an online discussion with reciprocity. A discussion forum must generate communication among students in order to be successful. However, discussions frequently fall flat because students fail to converse with one another or reciprocate by commenting on one another’s posts. Make reciprocation a requirement of the task. For example, to keep the conversation going, require students to not only post but also respond to other students’ posts. Students will benefit from conversing and teaching course material to one another.
- Teach students how to use technology. It is tempting to believe that students are technologically savvy enough that you do not need to explain how to use a simple discussion forum, but you should not assume that all students will be familiar with the platform you are using. Consider doing a demo in class or providing detailed instructions on how to navigate forums and threads and post. Without clear instructions, the forum may become disorganised. Consider suggesting that students use a consistent posting style and make suggestions for how to title their posts and responses.
- Bring the forum into the classroom. The more connected the forum is to the work you do in the classroom, the more likely students are to participate in and read the forum comments. Read the forum before class and consider bringing some of the responses into class. For example, you could say, “I noticed in the forum that many of you were interested in X,” or “Y seemed like an interesting topic of conversation on the forum, but some of you seemed confused about Z — let’s talk more about Z.”
How did you prepare students to participate in an online discussion?
- I sent students an email with instructions on how to access the discussion and what kind of interactions I expected them to have. We briefly discussed the forum in class after I emailed the instructions. My students were given the following instructions:
- Post any questions you have about course material.
- Explain your thinking about the question: What do you already know? What is perplexing you? How would you respond if you had to answer this question right now?
- Allow at least one student to respond to your question.
- After one student has commented on your question, I will respond.
Online Forums: The Business Benefits
Setting up online customer forums – or “communities” – can benefit a wide range of businesses. Customers may write in with questions about how to put together their products or how to best use the products, or they may write in with suggestions for other uses for the products. Simultaneously, service providers can use the forums to answer a variety of questions about their products and services.
“Say you own an extermination business. You can provide answers to many questions about the various bugs and rodents that must be exterminated. “People can post their concerns or questions on the forum,” Pfleging says. Customers and/or company representatives can answer these questions. It contributes to the development of trust.
Seymour Duncan, a manufacturer of guitar accessories and parts such as electric pickups, is one of Pfleging’s favourite examples of a company that has created a “community” through its online forum. Seymour Duncan’s forum members have been instructing one another in new ways of wiring pickups to change how they sound since the forum’s inception in 1996, and they also give advice on topics ranging from simple to complex. This not only relieves the company’s support centres by having customers answer questions for other customers, but it also provides their client base with a genuine sense of ownership, cementing their relationship with the company and its products, according to Pfleging.
“The whole point of an online forum is to create a space that connects customers with companies and customers with one another,” says Keith Messick, vice president of marketing for Get Satisfaction, a San Francisco-based company that offers a software-as-a-service online community solution. “It’s a great way to engage customers and to get people excited about your brand or company.”
Best Free Online Forum Services
One of the most underutilised aspects of online marketing is online forums. When small business owners think about their online presence, they often overlook ways to directly interact with their customers that go beyond social media. Online forums, in addition to web chat software, which still requires a “live” person, allow you to gauge questions and have a set list of answers ready to go. It is without a doubt one of the best-kept secrets for small businesses looking to cater to their customers while remaining time and cost-efficient.
Small business owners must also think outside of the box. Forums aren’t just for answering your customers’ questions; they’re also for making your website a valuable space for discussion.This concept worked well for boat blueprint company Glen-L Marine Designs, which saved countless hours in customer Q&A by hosting a forum where boat enthusiasts could interact with one another. Gayle Brantuk, an industry veteran, also mentioned being surprised by how knowledgeable forum members were; she’s been in the business for over 30 years and still manages to learn something new through the forum.