Threaded Discussions are an example of asynchronous online learning. Rizopoulos and McCarthy discuss the benefits and limitations of using Threaded Discussions. “Threaded Discussions provide virtual learning connections which transcend class hours and provide a dynamic, dialogic learning environment where students reflect, collaborate and discuss real world issues” (Rizopoulos & McCarthy, 2009, p.373). One limitation of Threaded Discussions is that students can get off topic. The teacher’s job is to act as a facilitator, set examples for the students and redirect conversations when needed.
Second Life is a type of synchronous online learning. Second Life began as Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG). “Activities in Second Life have grown from gaming to simulations, collaborations, and explorations that mirror real-world learning environments” (Burgess & Caverly, 2009, p.42). Second Life could be a valuable asset to the field of education. However, one limitation of this synchronous environment is that everyone involved must be online at the same time. “In addition, contributions may end up out of sync; a participant may respond to a comment made several lines earlier but be unable to post that response immediately due to the number of people posting or the speed of the connection to the discussion” (Palloff & Pratt, 2007, p.68).
Threaded Discussions and Second Life are just two examples of ways to communicate in online learning communities. There are many ways to contribute online. Synchronous and asynchronous online learning is valuable in the field of education when teaching and learning in online or blended classes.
Burgess, M. L. & Caverly, D. C. (2009). Techtalk: Second Life and Developmental Education. Journal of Developmental Education, 32(3), 42-43. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ868673.
Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2007). Building Online Learning Communities.
Rizopoulos, L. A. & McCarthy, P. (2009). Using Online Threaded Discussions: Best Practices for the Digital Learner. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 37(4), 373-383. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ852931.