Open forums for teaching in an open online world
by David R. Geelan
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning (IJCEELL), Vol. 25, No. 1, 2015

Abstract: Discussion forums used for teaching and other purposes in university courses are most often 'closed', in the sense that they are located within course management systems (CMSs) and password protected. This also means that they typically only last one semester and are associated with a particular course. This approach has advantages, but also costs, and this paper considers the alternative of using 'open' forums - forums available to the open internet - for teaching purposes across courses and programmes. An open forum was created and used in courses across one year of science education, drawing in students in the courses, students in similar courses at other universities, alumni, teachers and science educators. The forum will continue to be available to all participants after they complete any particular course, or their programmes at the university, and will develop as a 'living' educational community across multiple courses, levels and programmes. The costs and benefits of 'open' versus 'closed' forums are discussed, and contexts in which each may be more effective considered.

Online publication date: Wed, 21-Jan-2015

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