Think about a timeline for your forum. Setting up closing deadlines may intensify the discussion and help to keep up interest. During the GULLIVER project, some participants expressed frustration about the fact that they had to wait for months until there were replies and reactions to their postings. In other cases, teachers reported that the students, who were enthusiastic at first, tended to lose interest after a certain amount of time. On the other hand, since the school years start and end at different times in various participating countries, and since GULLIVER had to be integrated into the school curricula, the fact that the forum was open for a long period ensured that all classes had the opportunity to work on several topics. Moreover, since many classes wished to continue the project and since the number of entries was still manageable, GULLIVER stayed open longer than we had planned originally.
In short, the decisions concerning the time frame for a forum should take into account both its users’ interests and the actual development of the forum itself.