Using Discussion Forums to Support Collaboration
PCF3 // e-Learning is seen by many as the panacea for those who through circumstances or choice elect to study using digital rather than traditional educational media. While elearning offers many advantages, it is often accused of being a faceless medium that does little to encourage social exchange, discussion or collaboration. // This paper discusses the on-line learning environment, paying particular attention to the facilities that are provided to encourage cooperation and collaboration. It considers the value of such communication tools in terms of educational pedagogy and the advantages that such activities offer. The paper then investigates discussion forums, and the role they play in encouraging and supporting collaboration. It also presents a model that attempts to assist with the measurement of the collaborative activities of students participating in e-learning courses. The paper concludes by looking at how the model could be further developed and tested and discusses the potential for further study. // The paper will be of interest to those who are involved in e-learning or who are considering its use. It will also be of use to those that value the collaborative communication aspects of education in the e-learning environment and how collaboration can be supported and measured using discussion forums.