Horses to water: Student use of course newsgroups


  • Fatemeh Bagherian
  • Warren Thorngate



In a series of four studies, student postings on newsgroups created for their courses at Carleton University were monitored, and opinions were gathered from samples of students and instructors regarding their newsgroup activities. Results show that an overwhelming majority of students never posted messages on newsgroups, nor did their instructors. In addition, a large majority of students rarely read what others had posted. Students were more likely to post messages when graded for doing so and when encouraged by the active involvement of their instructors, though the quality of the resulting discussions remained questionable. The few instructors who were enthusiastic about the educational potential of course newsgroups worried about the large amounts of time spent on reading, answering, and grading students' postings and about the lack of career rewards for these activities. The results clearly indicate that course newsgroups have limited educational value until students and instructors find more time and motivation to make more and better use of the medium.




How to Cite

Bagherian, F., & Thorngate, W. (2000). Horses to water: Student use of course newsgroups. First Monday, 5(8).