Use pop culture to energize online discussions

Description Researchers agree that students retain more when active, student-centered learning techniques are employed and that fun and engaging learning experiences foster higher information retention (Bonwell and Eison 1991). When teaching large classes online, this can be difficult, but faculty still want to create an environment that is personal and interactive (Carbone 1998). Faculty want …

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Use student created discussion prompts for peer review

Description Reading assignments are often the basis for understanding much of the information and material content delivered in class. It can often be challenging – and overwhelming for students – to encourage reading and assess comprehension in the absence of traditional face-to-face class discussions. Utilizing student created discussion prompts as a means for peer review …

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Using GIST statements for summary of learning content

Description The goal of a GIST statement is to write a summary in a given amount of words (i.e 20 words, 15 words, 10 words). GIST is an acronym that stands for: Generating Interactions between Schemata and Texts (Cunningham, 1982; Herrell, 2000). The instructor can determine the amount of words when writing the GIST statement. …

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Using Voicethread for online debate

Description Description: Project-based learning is a method of inquiry-based learning where students are required to develop an end product using their knowledge of a specific topic. In most cases, the product is directly applicable or usable in the real world. Larmer and Mergendoller (2010) cite seven requisites that a good project-based learning experience must have: …

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Using a Guided Approach to Support Critical Thinking in Online Discussions

Description Supporting college students to develop critical thinking skills is an overarching goal in higher education. Students with developed critical thinking skills have the ability to evaluate their own arguments as well as others, resolve conflicts, and generate well-reasoned resolutions to complex problems (Behar-Horenstein & Niu, 2011). Given that there is an exponential increase in …

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Use word clouds to enhance critical thinking

Description One of the major goals of higher education is to cultivate students’ critical thinking skills (Roth, 2010). In order to be prepared for the workplace and to be an informed citizen, students need to be able to base judgments, make decisions, and solve problems based on the careful critique of available evidence. Engagement, defined …

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Use word clouds for reflection and synthesis

Description Word clouds are those fun, visually interesting combinations of words that summarize a topic or idea. The size of each word in relation to the whole word cloud indicates that word’s prominence. (Typically, the larger the word, the more frequently it appeared in the source text. Word clouds can be seen in everyday life …

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Setting Discussion Expectations

Description Selecting an effective discussion topic is important, but does not guarantee an interactive, fruitful discussion. It is crucial for instructor to set the stage and establish clear expectations for how students should participate in the discussion. Learning Objectives Before designing an online discussion, think about what you want your students to learn from the …

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Provide Peer and Professor Feedback through Social Media

Description Facilitate student-instructor and student-student interactions using collaborative social media technologies. One popular web application is called Voice Thread. A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways – using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio …

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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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