Lurking is the practice of reading messages that have been contributed to a discussion area or bulletin board in an online course, but not posting messages oneself. Students who lurk in a discussion will typically read all, or most, messages, but contribute nothing of their own.

Most online delivery software such as Blackboard or WebCT will be able to give the teacher a report of how many discussion messages each individual has read, and how many he or she has posted. This gives a rough idea of what is going on, but it isn't the whole story. Using the software, a very long, considered, and interesting message counts the same as one that just says ‘I agree with Fred.’ Just as in a face-to-face situation, the ...

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