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Types of Discussion Forums

Welcome or Introductions Forum
Students tell about their background and interest in the course.
Course Lessons
Students can review a lesson in a variety of ways -- text materials, audio, video or PowerPoint slides, and then you can use the message board to discuss aspects of that lesson.
Conversations About Readings and Class Texts
Discussions about the readings, main point, comments, etc.
Resource Sharing
Students locate Web URLs that are pertinent to the course and write reviews of at least one or two sites posted.
Project/Paper Topic Discussions
Brainstorming topics for written projects. Reflecting on classmates’ ideas.
Online "Minute Paper”
Summarizing the previous face-to-face class, what they learned, what they don’t know or understand.
Summarizing complex materials with each student tackling a different section/paragraph. Everyone must do something different.
Collaborative Group Forum
For smaller group work, peer review. In a hybrid, it’s good to utilize peer review online and face-to-face; both result in a very different experience for students.
Student Moderators
Students are moderators for a particular week -- participating and pushing the conversation on their thread. At the end of the week they may post a summary of the conversation on their thread. They can present their summaries in the face-to-face class, thereby blending the activity.
Case Notebook Forum
Students post their notes on a course project.
Student Lecture Notes
Students take turns posting notes and comments on lectures and readings, etc.
Guest Lecturer Forum
Invite a guest to host a forum for a week or two to answer student questions about a specific topic.
Frequently Asked Questions or Open Forum
Students ask questions about the course content.
Pre-Test Practice Forum
Post questions similar to ones that will appear on a test so students can practice writing in the discipline or have students generate possible test questions that other students will answer.
Role Playing/Debate Forum
Students are assigned roles and respond to topics in that role.
Grammar and Mechanics
Tell students that you will occasionally look for examples of mechanical/grammatical flaws. This is an opportunity to discuss these issues in class, whether an English class or not (ex. run on sentences, fragments, passive voice, etc.).
Study Skills Forum
Students share effective study skills strategies for being successful in the course.
Mid-Term Course Review
Gather feedback on how the course is going, ask students to reflect on the progress of the course. Students can chose to be anonymous.
Current Events or Ethical Hotpoints
Create a forum for current events or ethical hotpoints if related to your discipline.

Some material adapted from Scott Warnock Drexel University: http://onlinewritingteacher.blogspot.com/2010/05/message-board-thread-prompts-part-i.html