Best bang for your buck, open or closed forums

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We all have different interests and passions about life and what interests we want to learn about. If we all fit in the same box it would be rather boring, not to mention crowded too. Therefore, why would anyone make forum posts boring, rigid and so concrete that no creative or critical thinking is required?

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I do not have much experience teaching or learning in an online environment. However, I have taken some classes that did require students to post on an online forum within the course.  In Stephanie’s blog this week she mentioned her experience about her first ever masters class requiring students to post in an online forum. I happen to also be in that class.  I recall students being asked one question and were required to answer and respond to 3 of our their peers. The question was rather simple and straight forward. I remembering going into the forum and seeing nothing was posted as of yet. I disliked that and contemplated waiting to see what else would be posted first. However, it was required that you post first before you could see others postings. I thought that was interesting but yet at the same time frustrating. After posting
Image result for frustration online learningmy response and viewing others posts it was apparent that everyone’s answers were generally he same. However, the requirements were for me to still respond to 3 others posts. This quickly become even more frustrating as I felt I was not learning anything from this experience and felt like I was doing this just because it was required of me. Being that we all were adult learners, this forum assignment lack critical thinking skill and many principles of adult learning.

I believe that forums through learner to learner discussions should engage students in active learning, critical thinking  and promote growth of collaborative learning communities. Moreover, adult learning principles should be applied to further facilitate a meaningful learning experience.

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This week in EC&I 834 class we did a breakout session where we discussed forum-based assignments. Within our group we discussed how we would encourage engagement within forum groups and the evaluation criteria. Kristen discussed how she thought it was not as important that each individual students be evaluated on their ‘own original’ post, rather the depth of meaning (context) one has added to the forum as a Image result for evaluationwhole. Our group further discussed this point and agreed that a “post” (despite where it is) could be meaningful if it added to the original perspective and/or stimulated further discussion and critical thinking within the tread or as a new perspective. Growing from each learner within the community (open or closed) was seen as most valuable. Source

As a learner, I have started to enjoy blogging and feel that I have gained so much knowledge from reading peers blogs, receiving meaningful feedback and personalized my own individual learning along the way. This is the first class in my master program that I have been able to learn so much from my peers within a forum community than can transfer directly into my own personalized teaching practice. Reflecting individually and as Image result for blog learninga group, I have gained new perspectives on what I think is important for forums discussions and how I would want them to look. Open forms like blogging for EC&I 834
has for sure been the best bang for my buck as a learner. However, I do so value within a closed forum as well if it is set up well.


As a nursing instructor, along with Stephanie,  I have also given some thought to open forums, such as blogging and how this might look. It has left me with more questions than answers.
How would open forums look within nursing?
Where is the most appropriate and valuable place for it?
Can this be done within a clinical course related to student experiences and still maintain confidentiality?
How can we implement this and still maintain patient confidentiality?
What tool would work best for this?Image result for blogging
I would love to hear what others think about this and how this could work from a nursing perspective while still maintaining patient confidentiality.




9 thoughts on “Best bang for your buck, open or closed forums

  1. I love your comment about the fact that in many online forums students have to respond to the same set of questions- one unique post and 3 replies. I too have experienced this as both a student and an instructor. UGH!! This format was painful to me as an instructor and a student. How many ways can the same thing be stated about one question?!
    I have appreciated the fact that in this class we are offered direction regarding our blog posts but have the freedom to explore the topic from a range of approaches. This may be because of the general topics we are discussion. How do you think we could “generalize” and open up the discussions in our nursing classes where topics are often very narrow?


    • Totally agree! How many different ways can the same things be said. So painful, as a student and an teacher.
      I think that open forums within nursing education could be used more for students reflecting on their own past experience and how this could impact their nursing education and patients in the future. Moreover, I think that we have kind of done this within our course prototype assignment for this class. Our one discussion questions posts is a closed forum post but I believe that if we opened it up it would not pose any confidentiality concerns. What do you think?


      • I agree. Because HIPPA and confidentiality are such an important aspect of nursing education we have to be extremely cognizant and have a secure site.


  2. I think reading the blog posts is one of my favorite things about the #courobrandt type classes. I feel there is so much value in hearing my classmates points of view. When we open ourselves to the idea that we can learn from what others have to say and place value in original thoughts we gain a tremendous amount.


    • Yes I could not agree more. I am new to the #courobrandt type classes but have enjoyed this kind of learning a lot. Have you took several of their classes? Do they generally set up the classes similar to this? I am starting to get the hang of this class and the idea of blogging each week. Thanks for your comment and reading my blog post


      • This is my third masters class and third with Alec! Once you get into a routine of blogging it all kind of falls together. Each one has had different pieces but all have involved blogging weekly, some just in different ways than others. I’ve enjoyed them all!


  3. Great blog post Melinda! You are so right – those closed discussion forums can get pretty tedious, reading the same comments over and over again. They may differ somewhat, but there is only so many ways a person can answer a question. That is why, like Nicole said, these blog posts are so interesting. I never feel as though I am re-reading content even when I do read several blogs in a week. It is the beauty of more ‘free’ blog prompts and online forums! Thanks for sharing!


    • Thanks for your comments! This style of learning really helps with taking one taking their learning into their own hands. You can take it any direction you want really. After reading blogs each week it seems to raise the bar higher and higher for me as a teacher. I have found that so many people are trying many different and amazing things in their classrooms. Technology within education is amazing and find I am learning a lot from this class and my classmates. Therefore, I do see so much value in this open forum idea.


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