Types of Forums

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In online courses, forums can be made available to students for varying lengths of time. Some forums may only happen over the course of a few days, while others may be ongoing discussions that last several weeks.

This gives you time to read all prior comments, process your own ideas, and contribute to the discussion in a thoughtful manner. Unlike traditional classrooms where only a handful of people may do most of the talking, an online discussion creates an environment where everyone has an opportunity to participate.

Your instructor may ask you to participate in five different types of forums:

1. A single simple discussion - A single topic, all on one page. Useful for short, focused discussions.

2. Standard forum for general use - An open forum that allows users to discuss multiple topics. This is considered a general-purpose forum.

3. Each person posts one discussion - Each person can post exactly one new discussion topic (everyone can reply to them though). This is useful when an instructor wants each student to start a discussion about, say, their reflections on the week's topic, and everyone else responds to these.

4. Q And A Forum - The Q & A forum requires students to post their perspectives before viewing other students' postings. After the initial posting, students can view and respond to others' postings. This feature allows equal initial posting opportunity among all students, thus encouraging original and independent thinking.

5. Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format - An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with "Discuss this topic" links.

If you subscribe to a forum, posts in the forum will automatically be sent to your student email account. This can be helpful if you want to follow a discussion closely.

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