The use of the online discussion board as one component of work for the Kennesaw honors seminar was consistent with KCAC's emphasis on exploring ways to use technology to enhance community formation. Our online discussions were held via a WebCT bulletin board site established for class members and the instructor. These conversations supplemented in-class discussion in a variety of ways-providing opportunities to extend a topic that was cut off by the close of a class meeting, to address questions students might think about between class meetings, to open up unconstrained discussion space for those students who liked to reflect carefully before joining into conversations. By the end of the term, students were required to make at least five substantive postings (either original "threads" of discussion or responses to others' comments). All students posted far more than the minimum, and many created new postings every day or so.
While a few students needed some practice before becoming comfortable "talking" online, by the end of the term, everyone agreed that the WebCT discussions had contributed to our understanding of the course themes while building a strong sense of community among class members. Online discussions were informal and unedited. So that they could concentrate on the content of their conversations, students were encouraged to write without polishing their style or correcting grammar, usage, and punctuation. The online entries posted now on this website are virtually unedited transcripts of individual entries. When reading, remember that these reprinted postings are excerpts from threads of conversations that might have lasted over several days or weeks, as students returned to read others' bulletin board postings whenever convenient. Since students often crafted their bulletin board writing in response to a classmate's earlier posting, a number of these excerpts include direct addresses (i.e., by first names) to others enrolled in the class.
a project funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities