A tale of six fish: Achieving social presence through discussion forums in an offline learning environment

Margaret Lloyd


It is widely held, through the Socratic tradition, that discussion is at the heart of learning. Moderated discussion forums have been shown to replicate the debate, argument and verbal defence of viewpoints that we have come to expect in face-to-face learning environments and that we generally accept to underpin learning. While much has been written about discussion forums in educational settings, particularly in how to moderate and promote effective interaction with students at a distance, this paper takes a different approach. It looks at how forums may be used to support face-to-face learning in the contemporary context of the massification of on-campus classes. Further to this, it will argue for discussion forums as an indicator of social presence in the learning environment. It will cautiously conclude that, through purposeful design, this form of asynchronous communication has a valuable role to play in creating a positive and supportive environment for students entering university. Discussion forums are tools with a versatility yet to be fully exploited.


asynchronous communication, discussion forum, first-year experience

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5204/jld.v4i2.74
Abstract Views:

Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Contact | Announcements | © Queensland University of Technology | ISSN: 1832-8342