For those of you who teach face-to-face courses and/or blended courses, the Discussion tool can extend the limited time you have for in-class discussion. Conversation may be cut short because you simply cannot take time away from the lecture; you have to keep moving in order to cover all of the required materials. Or, you might run of time because the students are so involved in the topic, the class ends in the middle of the dialogue, with many not having had the opportunity to state their views. In either case, the student who might otherwise be engaged in sharing an opinion, academic inquiry, or debating, is sent away to quiet contemplation. Using the Discussion tool can extend the classroom time and give voice to all participants.
You can plan for online discussion as a follow-up to information presented when you meet in person. This is done by posing thought-provoking questions at regular intervals (such as weekly). If participation is mandatory, I usually require an original post and at least two replies from each student. Even if you do not plan to “grade” the postings, or give credit for this type of participation, the Discussion tool is a great way to allow the conversation from the traditional classroom to continue.
The Discussion format is particularly suited for those who like to give careful thought before offering their opinions. It provides time to consider the materials and compose thoughtful comments. Many students who seldom contribute in the face-to-face environment will become “outspoken” in this online arena.
For information on the “how to” of creating Discussion Forums and Topics, click here.
Regards, Dr. Jill
Jonnie “Jill” Phipps, Ph.D.