6. Discussion forums

What are online discussion forums?

A forum is a tool for people to post questions or discuss topics, each of which is called a thread. You usually have to be invited or you have to request to join.

The forum may be monitored by an admin or moderator. There are often rules about the type of content and acceptable behaviour.

Online discussions are a great way to develop your understanding of a topic and learn from others. It is likely that you will take part in discussions in your courses. Discussions usually take place over a period of time so you can take time to reflect and contribute when you feel ready.

Examples of UQ discussion forums

Get tips on discussion forums used in your courses:

Tips to build confidence

  1. Use appropriate language – Using a less formal style of language is usually fine, as you are communicating with your peers.
  2. Introduce yourself – State your name and anything else that’s relevant about yourself if it is the first time you post, but keep it short.
  3. Check previous posts – See if your question has already been asked or see how the discussion is developing. This will help to build your confidence as you see the kind of comments others post. It will also save your lecturer or tutor’s time because they will not have to respond to the same question more than once.
  4. Build on previous posts or say something new about the topic.
  5. Be relevant – Stick to the topic and don’t post irrelevant comments.
  6. Include open-ended questions – This will encourage others to respond or provide feedback. Open-ended questions allow someone to give a free-form answer (e.g. What do you think about…). A closed question requires a “yes” or “no” answer only (e.g. Is it true that…).
  7. Reference sources – Reference anything that is not your original idea.
  8. Disagree respectfully – You can disagree with another’s comment, but be careful how you phrase it. State “I disagree because …” and provide a reason why.
  9. Think before you post – Never say something online that you wouldn’t say face-to-face.

Online learning communities

You can join other online learning communities in your field or area of interest:

  • UQU Clubs and Societies — many clubs and societies hold online events and discussions
  • Reddit is a popular forum where members post about their interests and areas of expertise.
  • UQ Coursespace is a Facebook group where students discuss UQ courses. Some students start their own groups to discuss the courses they are taking.


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