They can be useful for:
- Providing students with a forum for processing ideas, research, lectures and other materials, and for thinking through content for themselves.
- Enabling students to articulate and share ideas, thoughts and experiences.
- Having students think through and comment on fellow students' work.
- Creating a community so that students can get to know each other and interact.
- Addressing questions, with either the instructor answering questions or students answering each other's questions.