Discussion forums are a valuable part of the online classroom. This allows students to share ideas and collaborate on new subjects. Interaction with other students has always been a valuable part of any classroom, virtual classrooms are no different. As a teaching tool, discussion forums allow the teacher to gauge class understanding on a subject, monitor which students are conducting research, and find the students that need more assistance on an issue. Many students learn from their peers. The use of a discussion board allows a student to explain to their classmates in a different way than the teacher. I like the idea of using a discussion forum as a flipped classroom. A flipped classroom is where students learn the material before the lesson has been taught.
Teachers have to be vigilant when using discussion forums. Teachers must monitor student netiquette and students that don't understand the material. If we fail to watch for those who are not providing scholarly feedback or discussion, we may miss a student that does not understand the topic. For safety, teachers should always monitor post and require students to sign-in before being able to comment.
My name is Kris Martinez and I blog about learning public safety.