By Jennifer Bunk, SIOP Blogger
Part 3: Disadvantages
Disadvantage #1: It’s not REALLY a discussion
Here are some sample responses from a discussion board where I asked students to define “job success” (click for full image):
The students shared some very insightful comments, but it’s not really a discussion. If this were to take place in person, we might, for example, more time talking about charisma and discussing whether or not it is necessary in today’s working world. What I typically see on discussion boards are a series of related comments that often show solid critical thinking, but nonetheless lack the depth, examination, and exploration of a live conversation.
Disadvantage #2: The front-end design of discussion boards needs updating
I’ve been participating in online discussion boards ever since the era of the BBS, and while they look a little different (at least the graphics are no longer pixelated), the front-end design has not changed much. It works, but we can do better. This relates to Disadvantage #1. If we can design a better discussion board, we can have asynchronous online communications that closely mimic the dynamics of a real, live discussion. I don’t know what that design would look like, but I DO know the talent, technology, and creativity exist to do it.
There are undoubtedly other disadvantages to discussion boards, but these are my biggest pet peeves. What do you think? What are other disadvantages of discussion boards? How do we design a better discussion board?