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American Communication Journal

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This paper discusses the use of online discussion forums in various “e-democratic” practices in light of the lessons learned from the field of education. Informed by a conceptual framework drawn from the role of public sphere in electronic democracy and the ideal learning conditions of a computer-mediated communication environment, the author analyzed two discussion forums maintained by a government and a civil society group. Results suggest that, in both cases, online discussion forums only reflect a few elements of effective online learning and therefore, have yet to reach their full potentials. Implications for future research are discussed.


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