Electronic Discussion Group Lists In Adult Learning
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Type of Work12 pages
conference papers and proceedings preprints
Citation of Original PublicationCollins, Mauri & Berge, Zane. (2000). Electronic Discussion Group Lists In Adult Learning
RightsThis item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.
Subjectselectronic discussion groups (EDG)
scholarly discussion groups (SDG)
UMBC Instructional System Design
Online electronic discussion groups (EDGs) are formed as a result of voluntary association (Harnack & Fest, 1964). Some persons use EDGs to gather information, to explore different perspectives on the same issues, much as they would a library. Other participants meet online with colleagues to informally discuss ideas, to promote creative thinking and to listen to others in much the same way as they do in person, by phone or at a seminar. An exploratory survey of a purposive sample of electronic discussion groups was conducted to determine the reasons a random sample of participants would give for joining electronic discussion groups, the benefits they derive from their membership, the metaphors they would use to describe lists; the general effects of list participation, and to determine if they considered their participation in their respective lists as a learning experience. A EDG is a type of computer conference that functions as an electronic forum--a place to hold open discussions on topics of mutual interest (Harnack & Fest, 1964; Gulley, 1968). Electronic discussion groups exist for many different reasons, with over 8,000 public and 19,000 private electronic discussion lists on the Internet. Access to electronic mail is all that is needed to participate. This paper is background information for our conference presentation. Here we will examine EDGs as venues for informal adult learning and knowledge networking. The conference presentation will outline the advantages and disadvantages of such lists, and highlight scholarly discussion groups (SDGs)--a subset of EDGs--as an avenue for self-directed, adult learning at a distance.