Monthly Archives: January 2013


Internet forums ­ an imperfect example of informal learning

Internet Forums are simply online sites where people can have conversations on a variety of topics by posting and responding to messages.  “On-line bulletin board”, “message board” and “bulletin board” are often used interchangeably.  If well moderated, an internet forum can become a place where people from all over the world come together to share knowledge about their discipline or subject of interest – a true “community of practice”.  Friendships, professional connections and reputations are developed as well.  They can exemplify the best of informal learning. However, not all Internet forums are equally successful.  In this paper I will briefly touch upon the history of Internet forums and look into the different varieties that exist today.  I will discuss some of their limitations and focus on one called “D-Word” that I am familiar with and consider a very successful example. Perhaps we could trace the true origins of “bulletin boards” to graffiti from the antiquities.  Centuries ago, paper was precious.  Newspapers were posted in public spaces so that members of the community could come together to read and discuss them.  Some newspapers inserted blank spaces so that readers could add their own comments for the person they would be passing the newspaper onto.  As paper eventually became more affordable for the masses, “bills” and “broadsides” could be posted where people were likely to see them. Bulletin boards made a central place to post and read information. In the late ‘70’s and  ‘80’s computers gradually began to enter the home.  The first dial up Bulletin Board system (BBS) was started in 1978 when a Chicago blizzard stranded computer hobbyists Ward Christensen and Randy Suess inside.  People would dial into this and other bulletin boards on 1200 [...]

Internet forums ­ an imperfect example of informal learning 2017-05-18T23:30:27+00:00