Discussion groups provide an opportunity for ongoing electronic conversations among a group of people. One person posts a question or an opinion. Others read it and attach replies. Then still others add comments on the replies. The sequence of commentary can go on indefinitely.
Unfortunately, the names e-mail list, mailing list, bulletin board, news server, newsgroup, net news, forum, discussion group, and list server are used somewhat interchangeably to describe different forms of message exchange. I cannot remedy that linguistic overlap, but I can tell you how I use terms in this book. I divide discussion groups into three main categories: e-mail lists, newsgroups, and forums.
E-mail lists let members of the list broadcast e-mail messages to all other members of the list. (E-mail lists are often called list servers, listservs, or just mailing lists.) An e-mail list server maintains the list of subscribers to the list, in WBT typically the members of a class. When a message arrives, a copy is dispatched to every member of the list.
Most course designers tell me they are phasing out e-mail lists in favor of threaded forums or newsgroups.
Here is a message posted to an e-mail list that discusses HTML issues affecting the Internet Explorer browser.
The main advantage ...