Virtual discussion: Understanding college students' electronic bulletin board use

Robert S. Weisskirch, Sharon Seidman Milburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To investigate student and class characteristics associated with electronic bulletin board use, the authors analyzed a total of 3125 messages posted by students in 15 classes. Electronic postings were analyzed for intended audience, form, and content of the messages. Most messages included new information and did not specify a specific audience or recipient. However, student postings of messages specifically addressed to faculty were associated with higher course grades. Student postings in courses for which bulletin board use was optional posted more questions and comments directed to the faculty member than in courses in which bulletin board use was mandatory. Courses in which bulletin board use was mandatory produced more student messages offering social support to the faculty member, peer-directed questions, and peer-to-peer comments. Only faculty-directed comments and questions were associated with higher course grades.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalInternet and Higher Education
StatePublished - 2003


  • Electronic bulletin boards
  • On-line discussion areas
  • Content analysis
  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Learning outcomes
  • Asynchronous learning


  • Public Relations and Advertising
  • Computer Sciences
  • Graphics and Human Computer Interfaces
  • Higher Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction

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