The Death of Discussion Boards in DE

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Michael Burgos, Oct 25, 2023.

  1. Michael Burgos

    Michael Burgos Active Member

    ChatGPT is doing it. But threaded discussions should have been done away with ten years ago. The two institutions I presently teach at have done away with these, thankfully.
    MasterChief and Maniac Craniac like this.
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    In all my years as a student, I have learned one thing ever from class discussion in an online course*. And I'll bet that's one more than a lot of people have.

    I believe, however, that this is mainly because LMSs use horrible designs for them.

    *For the curious, it was about Willingham's work debunking learning styles. That class session was basically about learning styles, and was being taught by an instructor who took them seriously. One of the students was basically like, "Whelp, too bad they're not real," and added a bunch of links. It was a real show stopper! :D
  3. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    This is the visual, audio, kinetic, etc. learning styles thing, yes?
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  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    It is.
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  5. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    As an instructor, I found the posting to be valuable, but not the responses.

    Students seemed to gain from gathering and presenting their thoughts. But the follow-ups were often pro forma, especially when a minimum number of postings were required from each student.
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That's a great point!
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  7. Countertenor

    Countertenor New Member

    I always took discussion posting seriously, but it was obvious not everyone did. But those of us who did engage in them seriously gained from them.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  8. wmcdonald

    wmcdonald Active Member

    I still believe active discussion, as it was intended to be, is valuable, and can be informative. Lecture in traditional classrooms is often one-way, top down. You ask for comments and questions and can often feel like the discussion was active. There is no way to measure that. In online discussion, I still mandate specific responses by a specific time. I review each and ask questions for clarification or suggestions for improvement. In my class, students can run, but can't get away from being evaluated on content. If they didn't get it, I question further!

    Today, it's all about bells and whistles, and that soon changes. The Discussion Board can be revised, but in my view dependent on active faculty presence, and support.
    Maniac Craniac and SteveFoerster like this.
  9. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    Dead and buried but the universities won't admit it because they have got nothing to replace this outdated discussion board with. All my students from Associates to MA are writing stellar 4 paragraph essays when previously they could barely sling together 2 or 3 sentences. LOL like I am going to read hundreds of pages of ChatPGP twaddle in a 35-student class and reply. The students love it through and are even using ChatPGP to reply post to their "scholarly writings." Worse is that some of the universities are embracing ChatGPT as a wonderful tool based on recommendations from their IT gnomes.
  10. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    What can faculty do? Read all that garbage and reply? The students just ignore the mandated faculty replies that are set at around 15% of the total at most online schools. And at least at the schools I instruct at you can't mess with the students because more than 1 or 2 complaints and the adjunct is just dropped.
  11. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    I agree that is a great point - LOL
  12. jonlevy

    jonlevy Active Member

    The LMS' all seem to be copies of Blackboard or WebCT circa 2006 and follow the same design. and functions. The extras like audio and video are mainly just ignored by the students who concentrate on gradable functions. The LMS' however do it make possible for online universities to pay fast food worker wages since the curriculum, rubrics, and almost every other function are preset. The culprits are the regional accreditors who allow the universities to get away with it.
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Like others, I agree that forced discussion board replies achieve little. I try to put a "hook" in each of my required initial posts: an opinion, a personal experience, something for others to respond to. Many times, I'm struggling to find something to respond to in my classmates' posts because they are simply stating information about the topic at hand. Neither of us gets much out of that.

    At the same time, genuine discussions can be really valuable and many discussion boards at Eastern were full of lively discussion about course content and students helping each other. Part of the motivation for them doing this was that this was one of the ways in which students were evaluated for potential Graduate Assistantships (there was usually 1-3 per course, per term) which drastically reduced their tuition. Students were organically discussing things but they had an added motivation to be helpful overall, rather than just ticking a box. Not sure that could be replicated but it was an interesting experience.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That sounds like a great approach. The school gets good help and the students who do the most to help others pay less. Sounds win-win!
  15. Vicki

    Vicki Well-Known Member

    I am just beginning a new class. It’s the first discussion post where you introduce yourself and talk about your related work history and what you hope to learn in the class. Someone replied to my post and I could swear it sounds like they pasted my post in ChatGPT and asked it to create a reply. It’s kinda like… When you did XYZ, that showed that you… blah blah blah. Basically restating everything that I said right back at me. No interpersonal connection. No follow up questions. Maybe it’s my imagination. I don’t know. But on these intro posts, usually I have seen things like, “that’s really interesting. how did you like XYZ? I once tried something like that.. blah blah blah.”
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    If you really want to introduce yourself, reply with, "Glad to know that ChatGPT thought my intro was interesting." :cool:
  17. ArielB

    ArielB Member

    Thankfully I didn't have many of them at ASU -- a few for History classes, but not all of them. It always felt forced.
  18. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    It's not just discussion boards, there are 'other' industries and 'things' that are affected with AI, hopefully for the better though...
  19. Vicki

    Vicki Well-Known Member

    One thing that ChatGPT is good at is coming up with recipes. When I don't have time to shop and have a weird assortment of food, I have gone to ChatGPT and put in something like, What is a simple recipe using Chicken and noodles but doesn't have milk or egg? Then it spits out a recipe with some simple ingredients. When I see something I don't have, I can say... "what is a good substitute for parsely?" Or I can say, "that sounds good. What else can you suggest?"

    I have done this a few times and made the recipes it gave me. Every time, it turned out really good. Last week, I made a very tasty vegan butter garlic sauce to go with my chicken and noodles. It was super simple and something I wouldn't have thought of myself. And much easier than scrolling through a google search of recipes
  20. wmcdonald

    wmcdonald Active Member

    Again, it is faculty driven. If you don't like them, don't use them. For me, I learned how to drive the discussion. In a recent class at SIUC I had upward os 2500 posts with 40 students in the final week. I respond to initial posts, and active in others. In traditional classrooms some don't like to talk about specific topics out loud. You may feel you had a thorough discussion of the topic, but in this online discussion you can measure it, and it allows vetting of the material. That's why it's called discussion.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.

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