Wow-so many choices that use online discussion forums. So my background is that I am going to incorporate online forums into my Earth/Environmental classes next year for my Action Research Project. I did my lit. review and proposal based on hybrid classrooms during last semester's education class. I feel that with 9th graders there are so few that want to discuss issues/concepts presented in class- their shyness or lack of confidence or time for reflection or wanting to say the 'perfect' response hinders a really good class discussion. I see online discussions as a way to overcome those issues and can be put into practice with my classes. Since last semester I was going to use Moodle2 (through our district), but its been 'down for maintenance' almost all summer. That would have been my go-to (and may still be) site, but now I am exploring a forum through CampusPack (also through the district) and signed up for Collaborize Classroom. For Module 3 I will develop several topics using each of these sties to see which one I would like to use in my classroom. I am going to pull in several educator friends to give feedback (since we are currently not in school for student feedback) on which site to use. For this poll I have specific things to look for such as ease in following comments for both teacher and student.
Our professor has written a blog - Brunsell's Blog on Hybrid Classes- speaking on the same issues that I have faced with asynchronous (or in-class) discussions. It is interesting because a few of the teachers that he references I know through MSU's MSSE program and have skimmed through their thesis' on which methods to use in the classroom. I absolutely agree that having a classroom that draws in technology (not only limited to online forums) can foster student learning, interaction, and higher-order thinking skills. But I also think that there are developmental skills that students can only get through a traditional (face-to-face) classroom setting. Therefore creating a hybrid classroom is ideal and I will be incorporating more technology into next year's classes.