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.
How does one prepare for these unstructured structured discussions? Maybe it starts with having a general sense of discussion possibilities, identifying some of the priorities, but being open to unexpected outcomes. What actions does this general orientation entail? Most of us launch discussions with questions, but we also head into the discussion having good answers to those questions.
Dr. Weimer always provides insight wrapped around practical suggestions. This piece on the structure of discussions (both online and face to face) is spot on.
Ever had a discussion forum or social chat fall silent? Students that are deeply engaged in forums and chat have a more enjoyable experience and are more likely to complete their course successfully. Here’s how you can reignite engagement when online discussion dies.
Tips for students and for instructors on what to do when a discussion runs out of gas.
Published on Jun 7, 2015
The video explains why it is important to ask right, open-ended questions. It will give you overview for ineffective and effective question for online discussion boards, and some ideas of alternatives to the question-and-answer format.
Learning to facilitate online discussion requires practice and a first foundation in the best practices described in this video.
Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create grids of short discussion-style questions that students respond to through recorded videos. You can create up to four grids with a Flipgrid account. Grids can be classes, sections, groups of students, research groups, faculty groups, or any collection of users interested in a common strand of questions. Each grid can hold an unlimited number of questions, and each question can hold an unlimited number of responses. Questions are short, text-based prompts (think Twitter) that can include basic formatting (such as bold, italic) and links to websites or documents.
I’ve always been an early adopter of teaching technologies. This one is tempting indeed. This review looks at Flipgrid for use in Grades 6-12. I can see it working at a graduate level.
To risk a cliche: “The proof is in the pudding…” You won’t really know unless you try it.
I usually offer a few parameters as well:
- Avoid yes/no questions.
- Be specific in terms of ideas and passages (i.e., specify page numbers).
- Ask about the areas or ideas you struggled with and/or those that really aroused your curiosity.
The latter point is key. The best questions usually arise from a sincere questioner.
Thanks to Steve Snyder for this Faculty Focus article on how to develop students’ questioning skills. This applies to both traditional classroom instruction and to discussion forum participation in online classes.
When online discussion boards come together well, students can actually learn more from them than from other parts of class, instructors say. But getting the most out of a discussion board – and earning the high marks to show for it – isn’t easy.
Below, experts share tips for how to ace the discussion board component of online class.
Discussion forums are essential for an online learning community. Great tips shared here!