Some time ago, the idea of discussion boards seemed fascinating since people found it interesting to go online to ask a question and read blog posts by others whenever they wanted.
But now, discussion boards seem to have become a passé. These text-based
discussion boards can’t offer the vibrant, media-rich experience of modern social networks. People now want to be part of compelling online interactions and share their ideas and thoughts with other people around the world at their ease. This doesn’t imply that the discussion forums hold no value now, they certainly offer a range of other features but as far as online discussion forums are concerned, Facebook Groups are now the prevalent choice.
Facebook groups can offer a variety of opportunities for organizations, companies, associations and even individuals who hope to build an online community. Facebook groups have begun to hold a lot of advantage in education. Teachers can collaborate with their students in groups. It is not required for them to be friends with their students to make them a part of their group. They can engage their students in the social media space and teach them how to use it academically, so that students can drive the course content through collaborating and pursuing information and drive other students to learn and better articulate their opinions in open academic discussions. A big benefit of using these groups is that teachers can post links, videos, articles, pictures and documents to use in their course which widen the scope of it. For students, the social influence from their peers inspires them to build their learning and keep on rising.
Setting up a Facebook group is quite straightforward. You can refer WikiHow that provides a step-by-step guide to help you create your Facebook group. Once done, you need to you need to watch the privacy settings of your group. Make it a Closed group, copy its URL and share with your students, using which they can request to join the group. When you approve their requests, they become a part of your group and can view and post things on it. Facebook is the digital home for many students, so they find groups based on it comfortable and hence prefer them to any other discussion forums.
The advantages of Facebook groups over other discussion forums are:
Facebook groups attract a different crowd: School-based discussion boards are visited regularly by some of the most academic and enthusiastic students. But, as any and all types of students spend a considerable amount of their time on Facebook, a majority of students visit the groups regularly. With a little red notification, they’re just a click away from accessing these groups, reading and sharing what they like.
‘Likes’ lower the participation threshold: To participate in these groups and make your presence felt, it is not necessary to comment on the context. The ability to ‘like’ a post makes it possible for students to contribute to a discussion, to show that they support and encourage what the post says without the need of composing a new thought or question. It lowers the participation threshold as a result of which the participation increases.
‘One-click entry’ makes participation convenient: Logging into discussion boards requires a student to enter a URL and then login. On the other hand, students are usually always logged into Facebook, and are instantly notified of any group notifications on the go. This makes it convenient for them to access these groups at their ease to participate and also not miss on any discussions.
Cross-posting from YouTube makes sharing seamless: While watching videos on YouTube, if you come across any such that are relevant to the discussions being carried out in the groups, you can post the videos directly to your Facebook groups. These videos can be watched directly on the Facebook wall, without the need to leave Facebook.
Free social-networking allows free access to the groups on mobile: Many prepaid mobile phone plans include free Facebook and Twitter access. This is not a possibility for discussion forums and they will always utilize mobile data. This advantage makes Facebook groups very accessible through mobile.
Instant group notifications: Whenever something is posted to the group, everyone will get an instant notification. Whereas, discussion boards send Email notifications, which the members miss many times or access late. The activities of other members on your post are also notified to you.
Crowdsourcing: Facebook provides a two-way means of communication and creating a group gives you the chance to gather information about specific products or services, receiving feedback, allowing individuals to ask questions and crowdsourcing ideas.
Sending mass messages: Facebook groups allow you to send messages to the Facebook inboxes of all group members. So if there is anything important that you want your group community to know about or would like to personally invite the members for any events you can consider sending mass messages.
I’d infer that Facebook groups are a new and effective way of collaborating in discussions and are better than the conventional discussion boards or forums. There are so many advantages that have led to the increased popularity of Facebook groups. More and more people are using them for collaboration which is leading to the discussion forums becoming obsolete.
Are you using the Facebook groups for carrying out discussions? What other features and advantages of them have you discovered? Share with us through the Comment Box.