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Creating and Assessing Discussion Forums in English Studies

This project aimed to investigate best practice for design and assessment strategies of VLE discussion forums in English studies by drawing on the project team’s substantial experience in this area and by investigating the use of forums at other English departments in the UK. By the conclusion of the project the team produced a taxonomy of forum activities and a Guide to Best Practice in implementing them for dissemination throughout the HE English community.

This project also:

  1. Explored how Gilly Salmon’s five-stage framework for online learning as outlined in E-moderating (2000) and E-tivities (2002) works for online activities in English Studies.
  2. Gathered information from the HE English community about the range and variety of Discussion Forum activities being undertaken via a questionnaire and visits.
  3. Developed a critical reflection on the kinds of online activities set up within the English department at the University of Wolverhampton between 2004-09 their rationale as learning activities and what kinds of skills they were seen as developing for English students.
  4. Gathered data ‘tracking’ specific student groups within modules at different levels noting how their use of the VLE progressed over an entire course.
  5. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected on student perceptions and responses to online work including its being assessed.
  6. Considered some of the more philosophical questions posed by virtual text and virtual environments for Literary Studies in studies such as McGann’s (2001) and Landow’s (1997); in particular testing McGann’s hypothesis that the WWW has introduced a new era in which traditional subject skills in English Studies will need to be redefined or re-conceptualised beyond book-based models of textuality and interpretation.