Online discussions are a key component for enhancing learning and enabling students to interact more deeply with course concepts and materials. They also are conducive to creating a learning community and providing a sense of connection. Below are some tips to help make online discussion assignments successful.
- Discussion boards should not be an add-on, but should be an integral part of classroom activities. Provide a clear context for discussion board assignments
- Create clear guidelines for discussion requirements. Students will use the forum if they perceive that it adds value to their study! See the sample rubrics below for examples:
- Set clear deadlines and penalties for late submissions
- Pick questions and topics that encourage participation:
- Things that investigate ambiguity.
- Things that help students make connections for a more global view.
- Hot and controversial issues.
- Minimize your posts so that students can learn from each other rather than simply respond to you.
- Provide fewer and more in-depth assignments to take advantage of the strength of online discussions - the ability to review and revise posts. Consider two week rather than weekly assignments.