communication_144248728Page contents


Discussion and forum tools allow students to interact with you and fellow students, primarily through asynchronous and synchronous (real-time) multimedia-based communication. Video-based options are listed in the Web/Video conferencing section.


Integrating discussions and forums are great ways to extend discussions beyond class time, stimulate ideas before class, and encourage collaboration and peer critique.


The tools listed below can be accessed with an Internet connection.


There are several text- and multimedia-based applications that allow instructors and students to post and reply.


Basic Intermediate Advanced
NYU Classes Forum tool (free): This is the embedded discussion tool within NYU Classes, and offers a bare bones, but functional way to post discussion questions and have students or groups or students respond. See more at the NYU Classes forum page.

NYU Classes Chat Room tool (free): allows for synchronous chat sessions between participants. See more at the NYU Classes chat room page.

NYU Classes Messaging tool (free): messaging tool for participants of specific NYU Classes course shells. See more at the NYU Classes messaging page.

Google Groups (free with gmail account): easy interface for emailing an unlimited number of NYU emails and limited number of non-NYU emails. Can use as a listserv, group email account, or a forum tool.

Nice distinction between Groups and NYU lists at

Google Sites (free with gmail account): Each page of a Google Site allows for commenting, which you can use as a discussion tool.

NYU Lists (free; requires sign up): has a clunky interface, but does allow for emailing unlimited number of NYU and non-NYU emails.

Nice distinction between Groups and NYU lists at

Disqus (free with account): allows for complex discussions and promotes online community building. Requires embed code to embed within your website.

Piazza (free with account): collective Q&A platform.   Allows you to keep track of students’ questions and misunderstandings and organize and rate responses.

VoiceThread (now integrated with NYU Classes – in pilot mode): allows for text, image, and audio commenting on specific content.

WordPress (free through NYU Web Publishing): blog functionality allows students to post and reply to content. Recommended for more flexible and robust discussions than offered by NYU Classes Forum tool.