Forums for learning — how hard can it be?

Why can’t the developers of educational platforms create a decent forum? You’d think that there’d be several decades of experience of what works and what doesn’t to call on. However, like most of the (Managed/Virtual) Learning Environments I’ve had to use, and MOOCs that I’ve tried, the edX forum which being used for the Data, Analatics and Learning MOOC (#DALMOOC) is broken.

The particular issues that I have are 1) that there’s no mark all items as read button and 2) no way to edit your own posts. The former is an essential way to catch up and ignore all the posts you don’t have time to read (essential if you want to avoid going mad in a MOOC). The latter is useful when you spot that typo that you should have corrected before you posted.

Given that discussion is considered such an essential ingredient of technology enhanced learning toolkit, you’d think that it would be a problem that has been solved! But it hasn’t.

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University