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1 Definition

“A shoutbox, saybox, tagboard, or chatterbox is a chat-like feature of some websites that allows people to quickly leave messages on the website, generally without any form of user registration. In their simplest form, shoutboxes are simply lists of short messages, possibly with information about their authors. The page may be automatically refreshed after a certain interval, or polled dynamically in order to keep new messages visible. Older posts are often deleted after a certain number of messages have been written in order to preserve space on the server.”. (Wikipedia, retrieved 17:42, 3 September 2009 (UTC).

2 In education

Shoutboxes can implement several important functions:

We believe that shoutboxes are essential for community building in distance education. I.e. educational portalware should include shoutboxes (a single one for small sites or one per class or course on larger sites) to allow participants to indicate presence and feel presence of others.

The shoutbox may be used for short messages from the teacher, e.g. to recall a deadline or emerging other information like "I fixed the text for the assignment")

A successful teaching by projects pedagogy needs to provide strong emotional support and it is therefore important to encourage spontaneous, playful interaction and corner's for humor that will augment quality of on-line life and contribute to class spirit. Tools like the shoutbox where participants can make little jokes or a little quotation box can do wonders.

Finally, shoutboxes can be used for brainstorming in the sense as it is used in micro-blogging systems. "Hey, I got this wonderful idea" or "have a look at this URL".

3 Software

Most portalware does allow to install a shoutbox, e.g. through an extension. A major exception seem to be LMSs, i.e. applications that are not known to favor any sort of community spirit or social presence ...

4 Links