Use Twitter @replies/mentions to reach out to professional networks beyond the class

Description Twitter is a social network that allows individuals to follow other users, post their own tweets, and create a network within which they can communicate. Participants on Twitter receive a Twitter “handle” or username, which is preceded by an “at” symbol: @. For example, this author’s Twitter username is @digirhet. Discussions and conversations among …

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Use online debates to enhance classroom engagement

Description A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome …

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Welcome Message

Description A welcome message to students before the course begins is an important step in establishing your online persona (Bellafiore, 2007; Gibson and Blackwell, 2005; Mensch and Ali, 2007; and Phillips, 2011). The message should include vital information for the course and not be your entire syllabus. The purpose of this communication is to welcome …

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Discussion Prompts

Description Discussion prompts are the written “springboard” from which online discussions are launched and are essential to encourage shared understanding (Du, Zhang, Olinzock, & Adams, 2008). Discussion prompts can vary from pithy (e.g., “Discuss [Topic X]”) to verbose (e.g., an entire printed page of instructions). However, the best standard for gauging the effectiveness of a …

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Discussion Facilitation

Description Setting up a discussion prompt is important for initial structuring, but it is crucial to facilitate during the discussion to ensure it is progressing. Baker (2011) warns, “Unmanaged discussions invite chaos.” However, most instructors agree that participation and grading of discussions takes the majority of one’s time (Cranney, Alexander, Wallace, & Alfano, 2011). Here …

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