Comparing Weblogs to Threaded Discussion Tools in Online Educational Contexts

Donna Cameron, Terry Anderson, International Journal of Instructional Technology, Distance Learning, Dec 01, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article captures the difference between discussion lists and blogs. "Computer conferencing emerged in an era that predates the Web, thus the tendency is for use that is separated from Internet resources and focuses on discussion of readings, or activities that take place off-line or behind passwords... The current generation of blogging tools were not designed for closed class courses and thus the component of teaching presence referenced as facilitating discourse is in some ways more challenging in a blog environment." Right. It's the capacity to shape the discussion ('facilitating discourse') that is much more difficult in a blog environment. This may explain the appeal of blogs to students - but it may also explain the rancor (that for example I have recently seen on a closed Australian discussion list) demonstrated by those that oppose them. More articles from the current ITDL are now available.
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