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Questioning the Necessity of Nonacademic Social Discussion Forums within Online Courses

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Quarterly Review of Distance Education Volume 10, Number 1, ISSN 1528-3518


Within the online environment, social interactivity is a necessity to the formation of knowledge. Learning, in order to be truly effective, must embody a social element that nurtures an individual through the multi-intelligences of a group while it also embraces and fosters an individual to recognize self-efficacy. The idea of successful learning within a social environment has been reiterated by educational theorists. Some researchers have indicated the importance of providing time and activities for establishing a social presence within a friendly online environment. By establishing a social presence, learners support each other in their quest for knowledge, and the group dynamic enhances critical thinking within the community of learners. The purpose of this research was to examine the social interactions of required academic discussion forums, optional academic discussion forums, and optional nonacademic social discussion forums to see whether different types of forums actually enhance the sense of social presence. The intent was to see if these forums contributed to a social sense of community, which was intended to enhance learning and broaden the individual's role in the community of learners.


Pate, A., Smaldino, S., Mayall, H.J. & Luetkehans, L. (2009). Questioning the Necessity of Nonacademic Social Discussion Forums within Online Courses. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10(1), 1-8. Retrieved December 5, 2020 from .

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