Affordances
Constraints
  • Asynchronous, Anytime, Anywhere
  • Participatory - more students can participate compared to a class discussion (think-pair-shares and other small group cooperative learning techniques can make face-to-face conversations more participatory)
  • Provides equal opportunity for students to express themselves
  • Increased participation, especially moderated discussion, can lead to a greater sense of class community
  • Change dynamics of writing assignments
  • Changes dynamics of who has knowledge – ClassBrain
  • Accountability & assessment - easy to document who has contributed to the conversation and what they have contributed
  • Less threatening than speaking in front of peers for many students
  • "Wait time" is built in - Students can reflect, formulate ideas, compose, edit, and refine their ideas before expressing them to the group
  • A form of peer review
  • Moodle forums have an option so that students can only see others' answers when they post their own
  • Easier to cite class readings, research, or previous discussions
  • Many kids do not like to write or have difficulty writing - (consider a wider set of media for student "writing" - make it multimodal)
  • Kids need direct instruction, practice, and feedback to become quality contributors. This is not natural at first. Without instruction, critics may not be "nice" or offer worthwhile feedback
  • Can’t see other participants facial expressions or hear other cues
  • Can be overwhelming if multiple assignments or too many posts are there – This might lead students to disengage or to think more superficially
  • Without instruction, students are likely to write to instructor, not each other, creating a teacher-centric discussion