Lesson Learned 2: Online Discussion Boards

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

In my last post, we talked about synchronous meetings. One complementary counterpart to synchronous meetings are asynchronous discussion boards. One of my instructors recently had good success with online discussion, which was exciting for me to hear!

If you want to see my video about effective online discussion, have a look. But let me summarize my main ideas here:

Because you can change the settings to allow students to only see others’ posts after they’ve posted, online discussion boards take away the tendency of students to piggy-back off of their peers so much in class. They have accountability, and I like that! I also like that I can see each person’s response, and respond myself.

Three things to make sure of with online discussion:

  1.  Make sure you have “round 1” posting and “round 2” responding/commenting with due dates included in your discussion prompt.
  2. Make your discussion groups small. 5-7 people in each group. Can you imagine how overwhelming it would be as a student to jump into a discussion thread that’s miles long? Small groups allow for more interaction and accountability.
  3. Make clear to your students how they get points for the discussion. Give them a rubric. Give them examples or explanations so they have a model in their mind about what makes a good post and a good response.

These three things will keep your students more engaged with the online discussion posts, and it’ll be nice to mix things up if you’re only using synchronous tools. In part three, I’ll talk about using pre-recorded videos.

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