"A distinguishing feature of online education verses the face-to-face environment are class discussions. Face-to-face discussions are typically spontaneous interplay with the minority of students being actively involved, haphazard in their preparation, with the appearance of mostly the verbal-oriented and self-confident members of a class. Discussions are often a presentation technique to avoid lecture lethargy or sleepiness, and are not considered a prime facilitator of the education process
In an asynchronous online environment, discussion questions are planned and students and faculty respond with considered answers. Faculty carefully craft questions to fit content and student needs. Respondents, both students and faculty, can take the time to carefully research and develop their responses. Therefore, the achieved learning from online discussions is potentially much greater than in a face-to-face environment."
This is a three part series that will help any online practicioner to better understand the complexities of writing discussion prompts and facilitating threaded discussion. This is a university level research effort with a solid bibliography. Well worth reading! ~ Dennis T. O'Connor
Via Dennis T OConnor