File Name: enjoy this networking and sharing experience in forum .zip
Business networking is an effective low-cost marketing method for developing sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions - either face-to-face at meetings and gatherings, or by other contact methods such as phone, email, and increasingly social and business networking websites. A business network of contacts is both a route to market for you, and a marketing method. Business networking offers a way to reach decision-makers which might otherwise be very difficult to engage with using conventional advertising methods.
Metrics details. Online discussion forums are asynchronous communication tools that are widely used in Learning Management Systems. However, instructors and students face various difficulties, and instructors lack a guide on what strategies they can use to achieve a more participatory forum environment.
We used coding procedures to analyze data collected through semi-structured interviews. The results of our exploratory analysis are relevant to the distance learning community and can inform instructors, developers, and researchers to help them improve the quality of mediation and use of forums.
Since interaction is a key component in the quality of online learning [ 1 ], Learning Management Systems and MOOCs frequently adopt asynchronous online discussion forums to foster interaction [ 2 , 3 , 4 ].
Forums enable instructors to understand and intervene in learning activities [ 5 , 6 ], and students have time to think and formulate answers. Individuals collaboratively build knowledge while collaborating in an asynchronous online environment [ 7 ]. Therefore, a well-coordinated educational forum is a valuable tool to promote reflection on learning, share information and perspectives, and connect students [ 8 ].
However, forums can experience both periods of inactivity and intermittent flurries of messages [ 9 ]. Without adequate feedback, only low levels of cognitive engagement occur, and students may feel isolated [ 10 ]. Feeling isolated can result in limited participation or lack of depth and quality of the discussion [ 11 ]. Understanding the perceptions of instructors is important, since they work closely with a variety of students and have a comprehensive view of the tool, which they use in multiple contexts.
Cataloging benefits and difficulties is useful for novice instructors to know what to expect or to aim when mediating educational forums, while investigating strategies and improvements may help instructors and tool designers to alleviate the difficulties and enhance the tool.
To reach this goal, we defined the following research questions:. To answer these research questions, we conducted an exploratory qualitative study with instructors who work in distance learning.
We collected data through semi-structured interviews and analyzed the data using Grounded-Theory procedures, cataloging and discussing a set of benefits, difficulties, strategies, and improvements. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 instructors who teach distance learning classes that use discussion forums. For data analysis, we used procedures of Grounded Theory [ 21 ]. Figure 1 presents the steps performed in our exploratory empirical study, which are detailed in the following subsections.
In total, 12 instructors participated in the interview. All participants signed the Term of Free and Informed Consent. Among the instructors who participated, two have more than ten years of experience, as shown in Table 2. Their reports revealed needs that have been faced for years and have not been addressed.
For example, I1 has more than 10 years of experience and has already worked in distance learning courses as Coordinator, Instructor, and Monitor.
In addition, I1 reported in the interview that in his undergraduate he participated as a student in distance learning courses. Instructors from institution B usually use the forum to ask questions and to provide warnings and reminders to students. In addition to using the forum for questions, I3 also uses it to discuss the subjects taught in the course. Table 3 presents information about the institutions and the LMS used. In institutions B and C, the courses are semi-presential and the use of the forum is not mandatory, but the instructors use the forum tool to discuss the subjects that are taught in the virtual environment.
The questions of the interview script were organized into three categories: instructor profile, mediation, and perceptions about discussion forums. Footnote 2 The categories aimed to help and direct the interviewer; however, the interviews did not necessarily follow the order of the categories. Table 4 presents the questions that were used as guide for the profile category.
Table 5 presents questions related to practices of mediation in online forums focused on the structure of the forum, how mediation occurs, how the forum is used, etc.
We employed two cycles of interviews, transcriptions, and analysis. Two researchers performed the transcriptions, as suggested by Runeson et al. The interview transcriptions were imported into the Atlas. We transcribed the interviews and analyzed them using procedures of the Grounded Theory method. According to Glaser and Strauss [ 21 ], Grounded Theory is a scientific method that uses a set of systematic procedures of data collection and analysis to generate, elaborate, and validate substantive theories [ 23 ].
The emphasis of Grounded Theory is learning from the data rather than from an existing theoretical view [ 24 ]. According to Strauss and Corbin [ 25 ], Grounded Theory is based on the idea of coding to analyze the data. The coding process can be divided into three phases: open, axial, and selective coding. Open coding involves breaking, analyzing, comparing, conceptualizing, and categorizing the collected data and aims to give sense to it [ 25 ]. Figure 2 a illustrates the open coding.
The coding process. After obtaining and transcribing the interviews, the investigator carefully examines the data and cuts out the units of analysis.
Each unit of analysis is named with a word or sentence expressing its meaning for the investigator. The goal of open coding is to generate and validate properties and categories using constant comparisons [ 24 ], which help the researchers to define a set of conditions to reach a category. According to Glaser [ 26 ], the researchers must use the theoretical sensitivity to give meaning to the data and be able to separate what is relevant for the research.
With the defined categories, we begin the axial coding phase, as depicted in Fig. From the analysis of the interviews, we identified: a benefits perceived by instructors, b difficulties faced in discussion forums, c strategies used by instructors, and d improvements that can be made to the forum tool.
These results are discussed in the following subsections. Benefits Network. Next to the image is a summary of the graphical representation.
You know who is interacting with whom, which individuals are not participating, or disagreeing, and whether the participations are taking place in the spaces that should happen. We identified 19 types of difficulties from the interviews. These difficulties were grouped into three categories: forum structure, motivation, and accompaniment, as can be seen in Table 7.
The difficulties with the highest occurrences are D1, D6, D7, D13, D14, and D17, which involve difficulties related to the hierarchical structure of the forum.
D1, Difficulties in following the forum refer to the difficulties that instructors and students face to follow the discussion due to the high number of posts that occur in the tool. D13, Difficulties in motivating students, and D14, the forum is not a current tool, are related to the motivational factors that determine or influence student participation.
Finally, the difficulty D17 relates to the fact that forum is not like social media; this difficulty is both structural and motivational. An attractive interface or the lack of it influences student participation.
Many instructors reported that students feel unmotivated to participate in the forum because it does not look like current social media tools and websites, making forums seem like outdated tools. This difficulty was also observed by Adetimirin [ 27 ], who states that many participants respond incorrectly or do not obey the structure set by the tool. According to Saramago [ 28 ], the use of a complex structure harms participation, since reading and writing become more difficult.
The forum interface also poses difficulties. I can do this discussion, but I have little feedback from the students. The fact that the forum differs from social media interferes with student participation. Less experienced instructors noted difficulties in visualizing messages, as mentioned by I6. They do not know if they must reply in the main message [ Low student motivation to use the forum has been reported by many experienced instructors and is associated with the lack of features in the forum that can capture their attention.
Many students prefer to use social media instead. I1 reported in his interview that he participated in forums as a student, as an instructor, and currently as a coordinator and, according to him, the forum changed little and did not keep up with the current pace of asynchronous communication technology. We have a difficulty of interaction within the educational forum. The students used to exchange messages and communicate in a forum.
Many instructors find it difficult to keep up with the discussions taking place on the forum. In general, distance education courses count on a considerable number of participants and posts, and it can be difficult for instructors to follow the comments and provide prompt feedback. In the forum, the accompaniment by instructors is important for the progress of the discussion and the participation of students. The structure of accompaniment difficulties is shown in Fig.
I have to answer all the comments, elaborate, and evaluate the activities, promote the discussions, and intervene in the discussions [ S1 Logging in daily in the forum: According to the interviewees, students notice when the instructor accesses the environment. In addition, instructors need to identify the points that can generate more communication and debate, so it is important to monitor the forum.
Otherwise the forum may run out of discussion or get out of context. S2 Follow the situation of the students : the instructor must be attentive to participation or lack of participation of the students. The instructor and tutor should monitor the students because if students have difficulty and they do not receive help; this discourages and can lead to dropouts " [I5]. S3 Be objective: instructors must be objective and clearly state what they want to evaluate. From the beginning, it has to be clear to the students so that they can use the tool correctly " [I2].
S4 Check how students are accessing the course: the information in the logs can help instructors gain information about which students have accessed the courses, what information they accessed, what participants they interacted with, and which students did not interact with the other students or did not participate in the forum.
S5 Categorize messages: This action can provide valuable information to the instructor about the students, such as the most discussed subjects and the kind of participation of each student. S6 Provide feedback: According to the interviewees, the students need feedback, and often instructors must foster interaction so that the students leave their comfort zone and begin to participate.
S7 Promote interaction: For the forum to be effective, it is important that students interact; thus, the instructor should encourage this exchange between students. S8 Creating a welcoming environment: it is fundamental to create an environment in which students become willing to participate, collaborate, and contribute with their reflections. Table 8 shows the difficulties that are related to the strategies listed above. Moreover, according to experienced instructors, when designing a distance learning discipline, it is crucial that the instructor plan and structure the virtual room before beginning the course, as well as keep in mind that it is essential to include the forum in all the units of the course to encourage student interaction with each other and discussion of the content taught.
Based on the reports of the instructors, we identified 5 categories of improvements that can be implemented in the forums:. Gamification Gam — according to instructors, gamification features and participation awards can encourage students to participate more in forums and activities. Multimedia Resources MR — some instructors pointed out that it would be interesting to add files to the comments in the forum to complement the debate.
For example, I2 suggests the integration of the forum with a specific social media to attract students to the forum. Integrating the forum with social media tools can be an effective measure as students are increasingly participating in social media and moving away from the forum.
Business networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients or customers. Business networking benefits are the intangible gains made by communicating with other professionals in or relating to your industry. Often, it is the networking efforts of a business owner that yields the most results in small businesses. There are many other advantages to networking—of the many potential gains to be made, the sharing of knowledge is the most beneficial. To reap the rewards of a network, it is important to understand what business networking benefits you can gain and how they can help your business to boost sales, increase efficiency and morale, and build awareness of your brand. Business networking is a term that refers to meeting other business owners, potential suppliers, or other professionals who have business experiences—to help you grow your business. Networking gives you a pool of experts that range from competitors to clients, and allows you to offer something to them; hopefully in exchange for their services, advice, knowledge, or contacts.
Metrics details. Online discussion forums are asynchronous communication tools that are widely used in Learning Management Systems. However, instructors and students face various difficulties, and instructors lack a guide on what strategies they can use to achieve a more participatory forum environment. We used coding procedures to analyze data collected through semi-structured interviews. The results of our exploratory analysis are relevant to the distance learning community and can inform instructors, developers, and researchers to help them improve the quality of mediation and use of forums.
A social networking service also social networking site or social media is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections. Social networking services vary in format and the number of features. They can incorporate a range of new information and communication tools, operating on desktops and on laptops , on mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones. Defined as "websites that facilitate the building of a network of contacts in order to exchange various types of content online," social networking sites provide a space for interaction to continue beyond in person interactions.
As an entrepreneur, the benefits of networking are critical to your personal growth and business development. By surrounding yourself with people who share a similar drive and ambition, you are more likely to move forward as a group. Here are five benefits of networking you and your small business can enjoy. Networking is great for sharing ideas and knowledge.
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When you look at who is — and more importantly, who is not — driving the growth and popularity of social platforms, a key demographic appears to be somewhat in retreat: young people. Social platforms are still reporting robust growth — yes, even Facebook — despite a growing chorus of opposition. Social conversation continues to shape everything from culture to the media cycle to our most intimate relationships.
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Online discussion forums have benefits at individual and society level. Although seemingly eclipsed in the past decade by social networking sites such as To address this question, our research directly compared users' experiences with on the forum, and on the other hand, the positive outcomes they enjoy in terms of.