I keep an eye on what the guys at Google are getting up to. Now they have introduced a beta Group discussion board. I have tried it and found that setting up the site is much easier than some of the other public discussion boards around. The site is clean and easy to navigate, with the usual Google sponsored links on the right hand side of the screen. The discussion group can be set up as a public board with anybody being able to add posts, or as a semi public board with "read only" status. Additionally you can set up a totally private board that will not be listed and where participants need to be invited to join.
My verdict? This is an excellent way of introducing learners to a discussion forum, particularly for tutors who don't yet have access to an institutional learning platform. They will be familiar with the look and feel of Google and will find that stepping forward to a Google Group will not be an intimidating experience. As with all public systems there will be a vast list of groups that need to be avoided, but these can be bypassed by giving learners the group URL.
Try it out at https://www.google.com/accounts/Login
You will need to register as an account holder for Google, but this is a very simple process.
2 years ago