A Rubric for Evaluating Online Discussions. While I haven't yet used this rubric, I anticipate applying it to forum discussions over the summer for my AP U.S. History students. My plan is for the APUSH class to begin online in ...
This study investigated relationships between how students “listen” (access existing posts) and “speak” (contribute posts) in asynchronous online discussions. Eleven variables indexing four dimensions of student’s listening (breadth, depth, temporal contiguity and revisitation) and five variables indexing three dimensions of students’ speaking (discursiveness, depth of content, and reflectivity) were calculated for 31 students participating in six week-long online discussions as part of an undergraduate educational psychology course. Multiple regression analysis indicated that the breadth of students’ listening (the percentage of peers’ posts viewed) predicted both the responsiveness and argumentative quality of their posts, but the depth with which they attended to the posts (time spent viewing) did not. Implications for the theory and practice of online discussions are discussed.
...the article weaves in relevant literature with the hard learned lessons from the author’s ongoing attempts to improve online discussions. It concludes by urging instructors to cultivate improvement continuously through candid self-critique supplemented by student feedback.
In my classroom-based courses I have always valued discussion as a powerful learning tool that provides students with opportunities to explain their reasoning and understanding, learn different perspectives and points of view, and re-think...
While your LMS discussion tool helps to foster student interaction, you may feel limited by its structure and capabilities. It’s time to bring some variety into the way students interact with you and each other.
Online discussions may seem to happen naturally but there are specific ways a facilitator can ensure comments evolve into good online conversations.
As much as students like to chat amongst themselves the success of an interaction is that it develops into a full learning experience. Here’s some tips on how to get through the chit chat and push those interactions into areas of thinking, collaborating and learning.
1. Keep the chit chat to a ‘water cooler’ area. This means setting up a space where people can chat about things that aren’t related to the topic. Encourage this, it’s great for people to find things in common and connect.
2. In the first week start a friendly fun conversation introducing everyone. Ask questions that will help establish relationships among the students, help people to meet each other.
3. People need somewhere to vent so regularly have a conversation space that is not tied too closely to the content but more of a debrief space.
4. Ask good questions, forget the yes/no questions, ask a question that relates to the course content and takes it one step further. Remember to always link these questions to your objectives, are you wanting students to analyse, identify, describe etc. Good ways to ask questions are to relate a topic to personal experience, or ask what they would do if they had hindsight, or what they thought the author meant when …
5. Ask people to respond to other’s posts with an explanation or reflection or furthering the discussion. Set discussion guidelines such as to be supportive, considerate and to always proof read your post. You can incorporate this into the assessment.
6. Give a minimum posting requirement. People are working from a distance so ask everyone to check in regularly and set a required number of time they must post. This will also help to stop people ‘lurking’.
7. Get everyone involved. Have different participants moderate discussions and also make this part of the course assessment. This is a sure way for students to learn the importance of meaningful interaction.
8. Add to the discussion yourself. If you can see a way to develop a comment or want to ask for further clarification, get in there, be part of the learning. Remind students to contribute if they’re falling behind.
9. Remember the ‘I’m confused’, ‘I don’t know what to do’ or responses that don’t go anywhere can be a cry for help. Reach out and give support to these students, guide them and help to get them on board.
"This author’s position is that asynchronous online discussions face an array of resolvable pedagogical and course management challenges. Online discussions can transform mere course chatter into a cyber forum of student-centered learning through meticulous planning, designing and orchestrating."
I have just read an article by Carol B. MacKnight called 'Teaching Critical Thinking through Online Discussions'. I was drawn to this article because I teach online and I have started using online discussions more and more.
Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
The use of discussion questions has become a staple for online classes because it allows instructors to monitor students' engagement in the class and it is designed to encourage collaboration among students.