Free, open, online, Help Forums: Convenience, connection, control, comfort, and communication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In contrast to course delivery, help seeking has not advanced with the technological capabilities and preferences of today's students. Help seeking in higher education remains primarily an individual, private, faceto- face activity. Open, online, help forums have the potential to transform help seeking into a public, social endeavor. These forums connect students with volunteer helpers who have the time, knowledge, and willingness to provide assistance with specific problems from coursework. Although many such forums currently exist and are a popular source of help seeking, they have remained largely off the radar of educational research. In this paper, a calculus help forum is examined for manifestations of convenience, connection, and control, which are commonly used to describe student expectations regarding information technology use. Results indicate that students can receive efficient, accessible, and self-regulated help. Two additional themes for student experience, comfort and communication, are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010


  • Forums
  • Help Seeking
  • Homework
  • Learning Styles
  • Mathematics Instruction
  • Net Generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management


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