Students’ participation in online discussions is central in online learning courses as it contributes to a participative and meaningful instruction where learners build their knowledge in a constructive way with instructors, colleagues, informal sources and by reflecting upon the process.
Debbie Morrison is posting a triplet series on how to create effective discussions in an online learning environment. In part I she presents components which make online discussions effective, namely:
1. A solid course design
2. Guidelines and expectations for students
3. Well constructed topics/questions
4. The existence of a skilled facilitator or moderator
5. An assessment component
Wang Y. & Victor Der-Thang Chen (2008). Essential Elements in Designing Online Discussions to Promote Cognitive Presence, Journal of Asynchronous Communication. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 3-4 (12).
Wade, D. A., Bentley, J. P. H., & Waters, S. H. (2006). Twenty guidelines for successful threaded discussions: A learning environment approach. Distance Learning, 3(3), 1-8.