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Online Discussion As an Instructional Tool

, Wichita State University, United States

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Vienna, Austria ISBN 978-1-880094-65-5 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This paper analyzes the advantages and drawbacks of online discussion as an instructional tool as compared with traditional face-to-face discussions. Major advantages are that it allows time for reflecting on the topic, can be used to discuss difficult questions, and has no time or place restrictions. Major drawbacks include the need to process a vast volume of contributions, challenges that some participants have with their reading and writing skills, and a sense of isolation felt by some who fail to make online connections with other participants. Some key factors for ensuring a successful conduction of an online discussion, such as the qualities of a discussion topic, "dividedness" of participants' opinions, and role of the instructor, are also discussed.


Liu, F. (2008). Online Discussion As an Instructional Tool. In J. Luca & E. Weippl (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2008--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 5025-5028). Vienna, Austria: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved June 18, 2019 from .