Why have an online discussion? What is the purpose of an online, asynchronous discussion rather than an article summary, essay, or research paper and how are these different forms of writing online different from each other?
The online discussion is a primary venue where class community is developed among the students, and where the relationship between the instructor and the students can grow. It is also a venue where new ideas and critical thinking can emerge. It is a part of the online learning experience where students should engage each other, explore unformed ideas, advance beliefs and opinions, and even engage the affective domain of learning where feeling and emotion tend to direct thinking. For this assignment, it is crucial to align the purpose of having an online discussion with the learning objectives. A discussion post is a different kind of writing for students to produce that should not only read differently, but also have a different set of expectations than essay or research paper writing. The main question for the instructor should be, how will I encourage the students to engage each other in a discussion and what learning objectives does the discussion medium itself meet that another kind of writing assignment might not?
It is sometimes difficult to elicit engaged and substantive responses from students that help facilitate a dynamic discussion. As instructors, the kinds of questions we ask and the amount of preparation required of the students will impact the quality and frequency of engagement and responses we can expect.is a good resource to use when creating discussion board questions that target questions at all levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Remember that you want to leave room for a variety of opinions and perspectives!
This week, we discussed several useful approaches to learning and their application to online learning. We also discussed how instructors shape the learning environment through their presence and engagement with the students.
Using this knowledge, Complete the following activity:
- Write two discussion questions for students to focus on to get the conversation started. Use your own discipline or content area for this discussion. For each question you write, address the following:
- Discuss the learning goals you want the students to achieve with these questions. Address how students should prepare to engage in the discussion. Why should these questions be in a discussion rather than another kind of writing assignment that students could do just as well on their own? In what ways will you encourage participation?
- How will you know if your questions are effective? Explain your criteria to determine 1) the quality and frequency of engagement with your students; and 2) the achievement of the learning goals described in #1.
Remember, this is an assignment designed to get your students discussing something relevant to your course. This might be more of a challenge if you are teaching a STEM discipline where discussions play a less substantive role in the curriculum. Even here, consider how a discussion can add depth and opportunities for critical thought around concepts in the course – especially those that students have often misunderstood or found difficult to grasp. Often talking through problems helps the learning process tremendously. You might need to think a bit more outside of the box in this case.
Overall length of submitted work should be 300-400 words.