Encouraging Quality Academic Online Discussions Presented by : Cari Kenner and Victoria Williams Academic Learning Center
Typical On-line Discussions • Instructor posts question. • Students post 3-5 responses.
Why don’t traditional online discussions always work? • Lack of community • Lack of motivation • Unfamiliarity Source: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~webteach/articles/discussion.html
Why keep trying? What is the value of discussion in online classes? • Builds community. • Adds to understanding of course content and its application to real world situations. • Helps students maintain a connection to the course.
Why keep trying? What is the value of online discussion in traditional classes? • Allows all students a voice. • Encourages thoughtful response to course content and other students’ ideas.
Encouraging Participation • Instructor Participation. • Too Involved. • Under Involved. • Give credit. • Restrict access. • Encourage collaboration. • Be realistic. Source: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~webteach/articles/discussion.html
Alternatives to Traditional Online Discussion Formats • Icebreakers • “Real Time” Lab Discussions • Content-Centered Discussion Alternatives • Blogging • Facebook: CampusBuddy
Types of Discussions • Synchronous –Adobe Connect • Virtual Office Hours • In-class discussions • Asynchronous • Threaded discussions • Large group • Small group • Blogs
Real Time “Lab” Discussions • Why threaded discussion in “real time”? • Allows time for thoughtful response (student comment). • In a chat situation, students feel pressured to fill the space and do not necessarily stay on task. • Specific task: Read short article, formulate questions, respond.
Icebreaking Techniques • Why are we together? • Portrait • Classmate Quiz
Icebreaking Techniques Why are we together? • Have students complete a profile and assign them to a group of 4 or 5. • The students have to figure out what they have in common. • Post their common reason to the whole group.
Icebreaking Techniques Portrait • Students create a self-portrait to share with instructor and classmates. • A digital graphic of some kind—drawing that is scanned into the computer, picture from the web, or other. (No photographs allowed.) • Include an explanation.
Icebreaking Techniques Classmate Quiz • During the first week have students post to an introduction threaded discussion. • In the second week, give a quiz to see what they have learned about fellow classmates. • All icebreakers are from: Conrad, Rita-Marie and J. Ana Donaldson. Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Content-Centered Alternatives • Case Study • IRA • I Didn’t Know That
Case Study • Assign a different case study for 3-person groups. • Provide specific questions to answer. • Three-person groups post responses a week before discussion. • Entire classes looks at all case studies and comments on all groups. • Group members must post responses to those who comment on their case study.
IRA Insights, Resource Sharing, and Applications Insights: Create one-sentence bullet points from the readings (3 total). Resource: Beyond the readings find another source that explains, validates, or exemplifies course reading. Application: Provide an example from your current course, experience, assignment, etc.
I Didn’t Know That • Devote an entire discussion thread to “I Didn’t Know That” postings. • Each week, post something you’ve learned and will use, from the lecture, textbook, class discussions, personal experience, etc. • All content-centered activities are from: Conrad, Rita-Marie and J. Ana Donaldson. Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004.
Facebook: CampusBuddy • See who is in classes. • Get grade distributions. • “Discuss” the class. • Rate professors. • Upload course materials.
If you use Facebook…. • Create “Teacher” Profile • Ask students to limit your access to profile. • Create Groups • Publish Notes • Status Updates Source: http://www.edumorphology.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/fb_classroom1.pdf