Manage Discussions in Large Classes

Description Holding effective, engaging discussions in large classes can be a challenge. However, they provide an opportunity for online students to engage with each other and the instructor in a way not possible with other kinds of assessments. Here are some ideas to structure this effectively. Group Size: The most common acceptable number for groups …

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Create Discussion Rubrics

Description While faculty might hope that students can “just discuss” a topic online with little or no support, Beckett, Amaro‐Jiménez, and Beckett (2010) found that “even doctoral students may need explicit grading instructions, and therefore provide rubrics and sample responses while not stifling creativity” (p. 331). Rubrics provide clear expectations for students regarding how an …

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Create Effective 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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Choose a Discussion Facilitator

Description While students may express a desire for more student-centered collaboration in the discussions, they may not fully understand the responsibility required to achieve it (Kanuka et al., 2007). Along with a thoughtful discussion prompt, facilitation during the discussion is often necessary to support students to engage in critical discourse (DeSmet et al., 2008; Maurino …

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