Abstract Online discussion forums are asynchronous communication tools that are widely used in Learning Management Systems. However, instructors and students face various difficulties, and instructors lack a guide on what strategies they can use to achieve a more participatory forum environment. This work aims to identify benefits and difficulties of using online discussion forums from the instructors’ point of view, and to provide a list of strategies and improvements that can mitigate the challenges and lead to a more participatory forum. We used coding procedures to analyze data collected through semi-structured interviews. The results of our exploratory analysis are relevant to the distance learning community and can inform instructors, developers, and researchers to help them improve the quality of mediation and use of forums.
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