Wednesday, June 24, 2009

i3 reports: discussion fora use in teaching

Another report from the i3 conference that is taking place at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. The first paper in the first session today (or rather, the session I was at) was presented by James Herring on behalf of Lisa Soon, Maryam Sarrafzadeh and Kirsty Williamson on Reusing knowledge in online forums. For many years they have been using discussion forums at Charles Sturt University (Australia) to encourage students to discuss and to enable interaction with the tutors. However this potentially useful (for learners and tutors) . The authors undertook a focus group with subject coordinators from different disciplines. They found that academics were reusing discussion posts from their own classes in previous years, and sometimes from other classes. They were using them to identify problems & questions students had in previous years (to anticipate and improve), see issues raised by previous module coordinators and pull out good student recommendations for readings. Thus the posting were evidently useful, but this material is not used effectively between classes or over time: e.g. it is not searchable. This has led to discussions about making better use of this resource, and of sharing knowledge more generally.
Photo by Sheila Webber: people at the Grampian Information event yesterday.

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