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Comments displayed in speech bubbles from people who have used online forums.

Student A: ‘Words can be taken the wrong was as voice, body language not seen/heard.’

Student B: ‘there was one student in my group who made some personal and hurtful remarks to me (on the forum). I think she had not read or maybe understood what I said in the discussion, but I found that pretty disturbing.’

Student C: ‘I didn’t like it when another student contradicted one of my comments in a patronising manner as this knocked my confidence in posting much else.’

Student D: ‘Dominated by a few students who seemed to be sat on top of the computer with the most detailed answers to the tutor group activities, this made me feel a less intelligent student.’

Student E: ‘These forums always make me feel stupid an I avoided them like the plague. The occasions we were asked to use them and leave comments would create great anxiety for me. I always found ‘perhaps unfairly’ that people used them to show off how unbelievably intelligent they were. This made me feel inadequate and inferior.’

Student F: ‘I always felt that I was not up to the same standards as the other students and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my abilities. When I looked at the forum it would knock my confidence to see that people were seeing things I wasn’t and were further ahead than me.’