Discussion Board tools

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... part of the technology for communities project,
started off by the authors of [Digital Habitats], Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, and John D. Smith.



Web-based discussion boards, also known as forums, are a classic tool that allows groups to conduct asynchronous, written conversations online. Participants can visit the conversation space and see a whole discussion as a series of posts. They can contribute to the conversation by posting a new message. Their message includes a date stamp and author information. (Discussion boards are also called bulletin boards or online forums).

Uses in communities of practice

The use of discussion boards is very common for communities of practice. This is especially true of communities oriented to open-ended conversations, but discussion boards are also used for a variety of activities, such as question-answer transactions, socializing, self-organization, projects, even announcements.

A web-based discussion board is useful when a community has more simultaneous topics than will work with an email list. The need to learn to use an additional interface is justified by additional functionality, including ease of visualizing multiple simultaneous asynchronous conversations.

Whereas Blogging tools focus on the voice of a member, discussion boards focus on topics of communal interest.

Key features

1. Message posting features

2. Message editing features

3. Message display features

4. Navigation features

These features make it easier to find your way within and across discussions. They are useful when conversations become long and the space of conversations complex.

5. E-mail integration features

Some people live in e-mail and would never participate in a conversation if they had to take the step of going to the web space. Therefore e-mail integration can be an essential feature. This is also useful for limited bandwidth and travel situations.

6. Administrative features

Related material

With other tools


Personal tools
CPsquare platforms
This wiki