Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Using a Discussion Board

Check out Word Press at

In my classroom this year, all of my students were set up to be part of a discussion board in order to discuss the ideas in the novel
Out of the Dust. I was quite impressed with their ability to write meaningful entries and also to agree with and disagree with one another.

The discussion board that I used was Word Press. Word Press is really a blogging site, much like "blogger." This was a closed discussion board, in that I had to provide a username and password for each of my students. But, this way, I could be sure that it was a safe site, without advertisements and would allow only registered users to participate in the discussion. The discussion board was simple and extremely easy to use. I did not have to approve comments, but I did have access to delete comments if it had been necessary.

One downfall to using this discussion board was that in order to create the student accounts, I had to provide email addresses for my students. I made up this data and it did not seem to impact the ability of students to use the site. Another issue was with grading! I had the expectation that my students would each post one time for the 6 sections of the book. But that alone was 180 entries. However, on top of that, I had given them the opportunity to earn extra credit for additional meaningful entries. I need to figure out a less time consuming way of giving my students a grade! Any ideas you have would be appreciated!