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Improving Bulletin Board Use in Face-to-Face Classes

During fall and spring semesters 2003-2004, 134 students enrolled in seven small humanities and communication classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), Daytona Beach, FL, were surveyed about the number of times they used the online bulletin board, their likes and dislikes regarding bulletin board use in a face-to-face course, and their suggestions (for teachers and students) to improve online discussions. All teachers selected to distribute the questionnaire required students to post and read messages throughout the semester, although not every week. This initial survey showed that students perceive participation in the online community as the most positive factor. The greatest number of negative comments concerned the amount of time needed to read and respond to messages. However, the positive comments outnumbered the complaints. Suggestions for teachers indicate the need to modify their teaching methods to ensure that bulletin board assignments are clearly defined and expectations for discussions outlined, tie bulletin board discussions more tightly to in-class discussion topics and assignments, and make bulletin board use
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