After, thinking about Peter's comments on my legal liability of using public forums as a university peripheral course activity I have decided that phpBB is not a very good choice for student postings.
This semester we did have problems with outsiders posting pornography or gambling links, or dating messages on the class boards. As I don't have administrator priviledges this is hard to control. Also I noticed that one of the female students had listed her interests in her personal profile as " pleasing my lover". Uh, oh...
I will have to change my Assignment 2 plan to explore better options of more secure online class activities. I wonder how to create a closed discussion room for only the class members?
Also Peter commented that my use of the discussion forums did not allow for the students to have much control or sense of ownership of the space, but I think in Korean educational culture that is normal. Students don't know how to be self-directed learners, as it's not part of the culture. They have had 20 years of passive rote learning by the time I get them, and they are generally not very motivated students. They think university is meant to be a holiday after the grind of their high school years (they are not allowed to sleep more than 4 hours a night for the last 2 years of their schooling) , and so they expect the university lecturers just to spoon feed them the information. Students in my English composition class complained that I had made them actually write every lesson in a student-centered class!
I think maybe a blog might be more useful for them than a discussion board as they are familiar with making a homepage on Cyworld to post photos etc.
I will have to give it more thought.