Allowing students to post anonymously on your Discussion Forum – does it make a difference?

In short, as I know we’re busy, the answer is yes!

I lead a large unit in Semester One that has around 450 L4 students. To retain my sanity I try to encourage students to use the discussion forums effectively in order to reduce my email traffic, and so that all students can benefit from seeing the responses.

Initially take up of the Discussion Forum was very slow, and I was still receiving too many emails about things that are covered in the Unit Handbook, the FAQs, or both, and had only received 24 questions through the forum. On the 3rd December I decided to try making the forums anonymous and sent an announcement to let students know about the change. From then, until the end of the unit, I received 66 anonymous questions through the forum.

The result, my email traffic reduced substantially and student satisfaction increased. We undertook unit evaluations once the teaching was completed and the anonymous forum is repeatedly cited as something they truly value, and wish it would be offered on all their units. If you have the chance, and certainly for Level 4 students, have a go and make your Discussion Forum anonymous and see if it makes a difference for you too.

Rebecca Hindley – Lecturer, The Business School


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