Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards - Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Blogs, Wikis, and Discussion Boards

Blogs, wikis, and discussion boards are web-based platforms through which students can create and share content as well as interact with each other and the instructor. There is quite a bit of overlap in the feature sets of these tools, however, how they tend to be authored, organized, and used offer distinguishing characteristics. This chart describes who is responsible for creating and sharing the content, the type of content, and the default approach to content organization (See "How do I know if it's a good fit?" for typical educational uses and examples.)

Tool

Authorship

Content

Organization

Discussion Board Individual Posts responding to Collective Forum or Thread within a Forum Originating posts and replies range from a sentence to a couple paragraphs, sometimes with attached documents, can include embedded media(e.g. video, images) and external links. Participants can rank threads. Chronological order within threads; is searchable; offers sort, including by highest ranked; offers tagging.

Blog

Individual or Collective (e.g. group blog)

Pages contain text entries; can include embedded media (e.g. video, images) and external links. Can be made open to comments by visitors.

Reverse-chronological order of entries by author; is searchable, provides tagging and categories to support organization and search; can be comprised of multiple pages with defined navigation.

Wiki

Collective

Pages contain text entries; can include embedded media (e.g. video, images) and external links. Can be made open to comments by visitors.

A flat hierarchy of continually modifiable web page(s); is searchable, provides tagging; typically comprised of multiple pages; can include defined navigation.



What are the benefits?

How do I know if it’s a good fit?

How do I incorporate it into my teaching?