This FAQ doesn't pretend to be exhaustive, but here is a fairly comprehensive list of education-related newsgroups gathered from the news servers at the University of Minnesota (umn.edu), the Prodigy commercial on-line service, the CompuServe commercial on-line service, the Microsoft Network, and the now-defunct GNN Internet access service (using different newsreader programs on each service to search for keywords in newsgroup names and to browse newsgroup hierarchies).
I have included the "short description" of each newsgroup if that was readily available to me during the search process (which it especially was while searching CompuServe and umn.edu).
A few newsgroups are listed with additional comments of my own, or by a variant of the Usenet short description found on other sites.
A few of the newgroups listed have short descriptions that evidently were added by persons other than the proponents.
Suggestions for additions to this FAQ are most welcome. Many thanks to those who saw earlier versions of this FAQ and added to or corrected the information posted earlier. And special thanks to the persons who wrote suggesting that I post a copy of this FAQ on the World Wide Web--I have now done so here,
at my Web site, which has links to other information about on-line resources for self-education.
Some of the newsgroups listed here are very inactive (possibly because they are not carried at many sites).
Some are very active, with verifiable frequent postings from multiple countries.
But in general the proportion of all Internet users who discuss issues on Usenet has been declining since 1997 as Web-based discussion boards and E-mail mailing lists have become more popular.
For a more up-to-date picture of where people discuss education issues on-line, see this site's
Discussion Groups about Education Reform and Home-Schooling page.
Usenet is an international network of computer networks following defined technical protocols for transmitting messages (often called "articles" on the Usenet network) among discussion fora, known as "newsgroups."
Usenet now consists of eight major hierarchies of newsgroups, known as the "big eight," namely the
I first developed this FAQ file when participants on the misc.education newsgroup began discussing why there was no education. hierarchy. The simple answer to that question is that so far there hasn't been sufficient demand among Usenet users for an education. hierarchy to form one, but one could be formed if sufficient users did the work to set one up. Until then, education-related newsgroups are all over Usenet, as indicated below.
The comp.* hierarchy is, of course, mostly related to computers and computing. As part of one of the Usenet "big eight" hierarchies that have to go through
independently verified voting procedures to form new newsgroups,
the newsgroups in the comp.* hierarchy should be carried at just about every Usenet site around the world.
Piano music, performing, composing, learning, styles.
The sci.* hierarchy pertains to various sciences.
The sci.edu newsgroup was probably intended to be the home of a growing hierarchy of newsgroups related to education,
but apparently was missed by too many people who search for newsgroups look for the term "education" rather than the abbreviated term "edu."
As it stands now, many participants in sci.edu take the newsgroup's topic to be "science education," (which is the topic of the misc.education.science newsgroup!) which tends to limit the scope of discussion.
Most discussion of more general issues on the sci.edu newsgroup consists of articles cross-posted to other newsgroups, for example misc.education, which is a far busier newsgroup than sci.edu has been at any time for the past few years.
The soc.* hierarchy pertains to sociology and social sciences, and various societies around the world.
The soc.culture.* newsgroups, which pertain to the culture of one or another ethnic group, and the soc.religion.* newsgroups have been a big part of the impetus toward moderated newsgroups.
Usenet alt.* Hierarchy (Usenet Newsgroups Formed by Alternative Newsgroup Formation Procedures)
When the Usenet newsgroup formation procedures (involving proposals, discussion, and voting) were decided, dissenters from that plan clung to an
"alternate" newsgroup formation procedure.
(Contrary to widespread belief, "alt." does not mean "alternative lifestyles.") Newsgroups in the alt.* hierarchy are not necessarily carried by any particular Usenet site.
The large commercial on-line services
(Prodigy®, AOL®, CompuServe®, MSN®, and so forth) make some effort to provide complete coverage of most of the alt.* newsgroups, but I did notice gaps in coverage as I searched Prodigy, CompuServe, and MSN to compile earlier versions of this FAQ.
Few alt.* newsgroups related to education have anywhere near the volume of postings of a "big eight" newsgroup, but some are focused on very interesting aspects of education. Check the alt.alumni.*, alt.prep.*, and alt.school.* hierarchies (not listed exhaustively here) for newsgroups related to specific schools.
Other newsgroups provide regional, or even very local coverage, and may or may not be provided at any particular Usenet site.
All those listed below were found on one of the four newsgroup sites I searched to compile this FAQ; most were found on more than one.
Lewis S. Eisen's master list of newsgroup hierarchies is a great reference source explaining where various newsgroups originate.
The alabama.* hierarchy is based in the state of Alabama in the United States.
The algebra.* newsgroups are based at Swarthmore College; I learned about their existence from an E-mail correspondent who saw an earlier version of this FAQ.
They propagate mostly to school-based servers, and do not appear on the Master List of Newsgroup Hierarchies.
Newsgroups with the bionet. prefix are part of the Biology Network, one of the oldest of the Usenet-format hierarchies outside of Usenet itself.
Most professional discussions of biological science take place in bionet.* newsgroups.
Newsgroups with the bit. prefix are mostly mirrors of Bitnet mailing lists (which originate from IBM mainframes).
To post messages to these groups it is generally necessary to join the E-mail mailing list.
American Educational Research Association. (Moderated) (Although the mailing list is distributed in sections with alphabetical designations, the newsgroup mirror appears to be combined into one newsgroup, with very low volume, so perhaps not all AERA mailing list messages are mirrored to this newsgroup.)
espiritu emprendedor para el desarrollo de academicos. (Moderated)
The clari.news.* newsgroups are part of the Clarinet News Service, commercially provided news feeds from wire services, mostly AP and Reuters.
The news service stories that appear as articles in the clari.news.* newsgroups are copyrighted,
and the copyright holders do enforce their copyrights, so read but don't repost.
The clari.news.education service is not carried at all local sites, because it costs money to receive, but is quite interesting in the international variety of articles on education that it provides.
There is a set of newsgroups for Edinburgh, Scotland that do not appreciate education-related crossposts, which those newsgroups receive because of their name.
You'll notice that I am not providing any links to those newsgroups here.
Be sure to read each newsgroup before posting to it.
The eug.education.homeschooling newsgroup is part of the regional eug. hierarchy, which appears to be based in the state of Oregon in the United States.
European School Projektin tiedoituksia yms. Myvs keskustelua asiasta voidaan kdydd.
Newsgroups with the fj. prefix deal with Japan or are in the Japanese language.
There are English-language "spam" postings, but those are just disgusting distractions from the intended content of the newsgroups, which is articles from or about Japan.
Discussion of Dynamic Geometry Software. (Moderated)
Newsgroups with the git. prefix originate at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Georgia Tech has a large number of newsgroups specific to particular classes at that university, which propagate to other Usenet sites.
The k12.* hierarchy is an international educational network (mostly for schoolteachers) that originated as an "echo" connection between local or in-school electronic bulletin board systems (BBSes),
back when few members of the general public had Internet connections.
It is the most active international group of teachers.
Some of the K12 discussions are quite active and most are now readily available at many local Usenet sites.
Newsgroup for information exchange on education and network [net]. [Moderated]
Newsgroups with the tw. prefix originate in Taiwan.
Many of the articles are posted in Chinese.
There are now many newsgroups under the tw.bbs.alumni.* and tw.bbs.campus.* hierarchies, not exhaustively listed here.
There are also several newsgroups under the tw.k-12.* hierarchy referring to specific school subjects, much the way the can.schoolnet.* or k12.* hierarchies are organized.
UK education matters especially relevant to teachers.
For discussion by/about teachers
Newsgroups with the umn. prefix originate at the University of Minnesota.
The University of Minnesota has several newsgroups related to particular classes at the University, which are not listed exhaustively here.
A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another: and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by a natural tendency to one over the body.
John Stuart Mill On Liberty (1859)
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