Technology Enhanced Learning

Creating and Managing Discussions Forums in Brightspace

Learning through discussion involves students articulating their views, exchanging ideas, challenging and responding to other students and the lecturer/tutor. Asynchronous discussions within Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are widely used in blended and online programmes to support this type of learning. The asynchronous nature of discussion forums enables students to read messages, reflect on them and take time to reply with their own contributions.

This resource outlines; 

What are discussion forums used for?

Discussion forums can be used for a variety of purposes, they are most commonly used to enable students to communicate with each other (both socially and academically). They provide a structured record of the module discussions which can be beneficial for all students who can learn from the exchanges of their peers. More specifically they can be used facilitate a variety of learning activities such as; 

  • discussions on core topics/units within the context of learning materials where the lecturer poses a question or scenario that requires higher-order thinking (i.e. analysis, comparison, application). 
  • module introductions and icebreaker activities
  • students asking module-related questions to peers and the  lecturer/tutor via a ‘FAQs Module Forum’  (thus minimising module-related emails to lecturers) 
  • group/collaborative activities and resource sharing  
  • reflective journals
  • assessed or graded discussion forums (you can enable assessment of discussion topic or individual posts see assessing discussions via Brightspace for further information).