Are you having trouble getting students to participate in online discussions? Consider using other types of prompts in addition to the typical open-ended question. Maria Ammar, assistant English professor at Frederick Community College, uses the following prompts in her English as a second language course and recommends them for other types of courses:
- Articles—Post an article in the discussion board and have students do an activity related to its content. This gives students more content on which to comment than a typical prompt that consists solely of a question.
- Audio—Post an audio prompt. Listening is an integral part of learning a language. It also is a medium that students are comfortable with and find interesting. Ammar has students post their notes on radio broadcasts in a threaded discussion. “Even though everybody is listening to the same [content], they may catch different things,” Ammar says.
- Video—Even more engaging is video. Simply post a link to a YouTube video (or one from another source), and ask students to comment or answer an open-ended questions about it.