Anchored forum

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A anchored forum (or computer-mediated anchored discussion) places discussions "near" the topic being discussed, e.g. with an annotation system that allows teachers and learners to add comments.

See also: Anchored instruction and text annotation

The rationale for anchored forums

Low interaction levels between learners in forums might result from discussion tools and more particularly from their lack of connection with learning activities and learning contents: "the problem with content-related communication often is, that it does not occur because it is a separate activity that is not include in the course" (Gommer & Visser, 2001, p. 438). We postulate that the separation between learning activities and communication is not favorable for the emergence of discussions. [...] Situated action theory suggests that instructional communication should occur during an action or activity at the time when the user needs it. So if a user cannot communicate easily during an action or activity, the opportunity to communicate and share and exchange ideas will be lost.

George and Labas, (2007:2)


  • CaMILE (Guzdial and Turns, 2000)
  • CONFOR (George, 2004; George and Labas, 2007)
  • Mediawikis. Each article has a discussion page, in this wiki see e.g. STIC III/ex1 and discussion (in french). Of course this is a weak sort of anchoring.
  • Annotatiesysteem (Van der Pool et al.)



  • Bernheim Brush, A. J., Bargeron, D., Grudin, J., Borning, A., & Gupta, A. (2002). Supporting interaction outside of class: Anchored discussion vs. discussion boards. In G. Stahl (Ed.), Computer support for collaborative learning: Foundations for a CSCL community. Proceedings of CSCL 2002 (pp. 425-434). Hillsdale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Gommer, L., & Visser, G. (2001). Implementation of a digital learning environment: The real results. In Proceedings of the world conference on the WWW and internet WebNet 2001 (pp. 433-438). Orlando, Florida, USA: AACE.
  • Guzdial, Mark and Jennifer Turns (2000). Effective Discussion Through a Computer-Mediated Anchored Forum, Journal of the Learning Sciences, Vol. 9, No. 4, Pages 437-469. Abstract PDF (Access restricted) or PDF
  • Davis, J. R., & Huttenlocher, D. P. (1995). Shared annotation for cooperative learning. In J. L. Schnase & E. L. Cunnius (Eds.), Proceedings of CSCL 1995 (pp. 84–88). Bloomington. : Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Kienle, Andrea (2006) Integration of knowledge management and collaborative learning by technical supported communication processes. Education and Information Technologies 11:2, 161
  • Sebastien, George & Labas Hervé (2007,in press), E-Learning Standards as a Basis for Contextual Forums Design, International Journal of Computers in Human Behavior, Elsevier, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2007.01.006
  • Sumner, T., & Buckingham Shum, S. (2001 + datum). JIME: An interactive journal for interactive media. First Monday, 6, (2).
  • Takeda, T. & Suthers, D. (2002, May). Online workspaces for annotation and discussion of documents. Poster session presented at WWW 2002, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • van der Pol J. , W. Admiraal and P. R. J. Simons (2006), The affordance of anchored discussion for the collaborative processing of academic texts, International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 1 (3), 339-357. DOI 10.1007/s11412-006-9657-6. pdf
  • Van der Pol, J. Admiraal, W. & Simons, P. R. J. (2006). Context Enhancement for co-intentionality and co-reference. Journal of artificial intelligence & society, 20(3), 301-313 pdf
  • Van der Pol, J., Admiraal, W. F. & Simons, P. R. J. (In press). Integrating an evaluation function in online anchored discussion to increase the local relevance of replies. Journal for Computers & Human Behaviour. pdf
  • Van der Pol, J., Van den Berg, I., Admiraal, W. F. & Simons, P. R. J. (In press). The nature, reception, and use of online peer feedback in higher education. Computers & Education.