What is it?

Forums are web spaces designed to promote and facilitate discussions and a space to post user-generated content. They are often organzied with a specific topic or goal in mind that is best accomplished through general discussion and are intended to create or maintain a sense of community. Most forum architecture is organized on a tiered system beginning with boards within which are contained topics and finally individual posts.

Key Features
  • Focus is on content, not design.
  • Allows an unlimited number of people to create and respond to content and messages.
  • A good way to develop and maintain a central repository of knowledge.
Who uses it?

Forums are used by virtually everyone on the internet, whether it be for research or social purposes. Most commonly, forums are organized around a central theme or idea, such as troubleshooting computer issues or the ethics of stem cell research. Forums are ideal for instruction in that they allow students or instructors to share and develop ideas over time by allowing for direct and specific responses to individual posts. The archival nature of forums also allows them to be used much later for reference purposes.

How does it work?

Forums exist as websites on the internet for the specific purpose of communication. After creating a profile, users can create posts that other users may then respond to. The mechanisms of exchange are similar to that of a chat client like AOL Instant Messenger, but at a slower speed because you are not ‘logged on’ to a forum.

Things to consider using before using Forums
  • Forums are an excellent space to communicate, but are limited in their ability to support multimedia content. If your goal is to create a space for more in-depth collaboration, a wiki might be a more appropriate choice.

Uses as an Instructional Technology

  • Create a forum for your students to discuss and reply to a response question.
  • Create multiple forums for groupwork.
  • Create a forum for tracking issues or difficulties with a methodology or process.

Resouces at Wooster

  • Forums may be easily created in any course in woodle.
  • Instructional Technology provides training and support for forums in woodle.