Ask Students to Lead the Online Discussion

Description Although not experts in the discipline, there have been benefits in having students lead online discussions. Students may be more comfortable to participate in the discussion when it is led by an equal member of the class, rather than the instructor who is perceived as the authority (Lim, Cheung, & Hew, 2011). Questioning from …

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Create Structured Discussion Prompt to Reduce Ambiguity, Reinforce Purpose, and Promote Discourse

Description Asynchronous online teaching is fundamentally a communications challenge. What is gained in online learning by extending access through a Web-based LMS is offset by the loss of the immediacy and semantic richness of in-person instructional communication (Daft, R. L., & Lengel, R. H., 1986; Moore, M., 1993). In online discussion forums, students, in isolation, …

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Scaffold online discussion through ‘steering’

Description Steering is a strategy used in interactional scaffolding of asynchronous discussion. Interactional scaffolding assumes the important role of the instructor as mediating discussion and maintaining a communicative ‘presence’ to support students to participate effectively in this mode of interaction. Interactional scaffolding involves modelling discourse and ways of communicating, and ensuring that the discussion keeps …

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Strengthen Peer Review by Promoting the Lens of Design

Description Peer review has the potential to be an effective activity for students to engage in, for several reasons. Students do not rely on the sole voice of the instructor, who is an expert in the matter. Peers may be able to communicate with other peers in a way that is difficult for the instructor. …

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An Alternative Strategy for Using Online Discussions for Learning Course Content in STEM Courses

Description Online discussion boards offer students an opportunity to engage with their peers and instructor in a course outside of the classroom.  The discussion boards are often used to replicate a classroom discussion and have many positive benefits.  It is relatively straightforward to setup and facilitate online discussions where students weigh in on a certain …

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