Discussions 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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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 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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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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Intervention messages

Description Intervening with Students It is important to contact students when their observed behaviors within the course indicate cause for concern (e.g., disengaged or at-risk of not succeeding). In addition to the obvious behavior of not submitting assignments, checking the Learning Management System’s (LMS) “Student Tracking” tool frequently (sorting by last access) allows the instructor …

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Blog as a reflection tool

Description Instructor: UCF’s Ms. Debbie Kirkley Course Title: EME5208 Production Techniques for Instructional Settings Instructor Testimony UCF education professor Debbie Kirkley uses student blogs to fulfill the requirement of students to keep a journal throughout the semester to reflect on course projects and their experiences. The benefits of using this type of blog are as …

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Blog as a communication tool

Description Blogs offer an easy way for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and acquisition outside of the learning management system (Educause, 2005). Link to example artifact(s) Example Instructor: UCF’s Dr. Thomas Brueckner Course Title: PSC1121 Physical Science UCF physics professor Dr. Thomas Brueckner uses a blog as a tool to communicate with students. He posts class announcements, …

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