Online discussion with and between students in a course can be a very powerful and effective teaching tool. Quercus has a built-in Discussions tool, and at the University of Toronto, we are also piloting another, enhanced discourse tool called PeppeR (available from the tools area while building your course). Read more on the Quercus native discussion tool.
Instructors should be aware that once a discussion board is enabled, they should carefully monitor the correspondence in the discussion to make sure students are using the tool effectively. Instructors who have not built this monitoring into their course’s design may wish to avoid turning on discussion tools. For more about best teaching practices, please visit the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation’s discussion board-related resources.