Expertly facilitated online discussion is the driving force for community in e-learning classes. Creating norms for discussion quality and timing improve the dialog. This also helps the facilitator step back as students learn to deepen their online dialog.
Special thanks to Kathy Hayden of Cal-State San Marcos for the many of the ideas behind ‘Value Added‘ response techniques. It’s always useful to mix up the types of responses you offer to your students (and peers) in an online discussion.