Teachers who have attempted to integrate online discussion forums insist that first and foremost you need to realize that students are not necessarily as tech savvy as you might expect. It is thus imperative to take the time to go through the selected platform. An introductory assignment (appendix 1 pdf) that requires getting to know and registering for the site can help address any technical challenges or navigation issues before participating in discussions. Having students take the time to look through discussion threads and identify what works well is a good strategy for having them think about how to share ideas online.
Comments: What platforms have you tried? What works well?