Hi, I'm Michael Schofield, Department of English Learning Resource Center and Academic: First Year Experience. I'd like to talk a little bit about threaded discussions.
What is a Threaded Discussion? Well, threaded discussion is a way of creating a learning environment that exist 24-7. It's an extension of the physical classroom. In a physical classroom, typically, there are one, two, maybe three students that tend to dominate the discussion. They are the ones that respond to the request by the instructor for discussion. The other students sort of fade into the background. It's sort of the herd mentality. Whenever there's alphas, the betas sort of fade away. In threaded discussion however, all students have to participate. There is no one who can cover for them; No one that can let them off the hook. But the advantage to this is that it actually creates an equal opportunity. It levels the playing field. And through threaded discussions, I have found that some of my most quiet students in my classes have really, really profound things to say, but they would not get that opportunity in the physical classroom.
And finally, and I think this is really the biggest advantage of threaded discussions is that it allows us as instructors to see whether the students are actually getting the material that is being presented in lectures or in the textbooks. Otherwise, we really don't know if they're getting the material until they turn in the paper or take a test and by then it's really too late.
So, I think that you know, as a learning center institution since we are committed to student development, we need to have a means for students to be able to have their work reviewed and for us to be able to see whether they are comprehending the material and that's what threaded discussion allows us to do.