Work in Progress: Disscussion Board in Research Method Module

Trying to find a way of encouraging students to write and critique literature reviews. So I looked at whether using a discussion board could be used. I 'borrowed' the idea from a short course on Moderating On-Line Groups (now CLEO) run by the Institute of Learning and Teaching Higher Education, University of Northampton.

What was the exercise they had to do?
- Post a small literature review of up to three papers on start of project idea.
- post it on a discussion board on the Backboard module
- rules they
            - had to post the mini review of the discussion board with appropriate references
            - had to comment on at least one post.
            - were encouraged a week later to post a mindmap of the project.

- small group (less than 10)
- MSc students

Initial Observations
- 3 weeks after it started posts are still appearing.
- most students have comment on most of the initial literature reviews.
- 46 posts only 11 of them are from me, this included one where I post an example.
- Student comments vary from being mainly supportive to appropriately critical making some suggestions

Some thoughts
- It seems to be received by the student so far positively.
- The fact that it is small group who know each other is probably helping.
- Comments also included ones saying that it helped others understand a little clear what the other person's project is about, overall comments are usually clearly written and supportive of each other even when making critical suggestions.
-will it have an impact on proposal and final dissertation is unknown.