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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Keep Students Engaged/Successful with 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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Convert Course Materials into an Instructional Simulation using Gaming Elements

Description In an online course, a frequent criticism is that the PowerPoint presentations are poorly designed and critical supporting information is often missing (with no presenter to fill in the blanks!). On the other hand, instructional simulations combine multimedia elements (i.e. sound, images, video, etc) to represent (simulate) particular aspects of an actual situation (Hays, …

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Incorporate Blogs for Reflection

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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Using Blogs 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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