Strategies for an Effective Online Discussion Area

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Strategies for an Effective Online Discussion Area by Mind Map: Strategies for an Effective Online Discussion Area

1. Balance Interaction

1.1. Interesting enough to pull learners into conversation

1.2. Not so dense that learners feel overwhelmed

1.3. Interactions are enriching and relevant

2. Preparation

2.1. Define Rules

2.1.1. Cyber etiquette

2.1.2. Quality of language/writing

2.2. Establish Times

2.2.1. Timeline for discussion topic

2.2.2. When learner posts are due

2.2.3. When facilitator is available to read and post

2.3. Expectations

2.3.1. Length of responses

2.3.2. Criteria of acceptable responses

2.3.3. Required resources to consult

2.3.4. Naming conventions (subject lines/topics)

2.3.5. Required participation / grading

3. Deciding on the Discussion Questions

3.1. Shape question with the goal in mind

3.2. What should learners understand?

3.3. Open-ended questions

3.4. Ask learners to support responses with examples and sources

4. Discussion Question Types

4.1. Convergent (How? Why?)

4.2. Divergent (Imagine...Suppose...How might...)

4.3. Evaluative (Defend, justify, opinion)

5. Assessing Participation

5.1. Be upfront about how discussions will be assessed

5.2. Track individual contributions to the discussion

5.3. Have learners do a self-assessment

5.4. Have group establish a rubric

5.5. Learners turn in summary of the discussion

6. More Helpful Tips

6.1. Use Icebreakers

6.2. Mix in informal/fun topics

6.3. Check-in and post every day

6.4. Reach out to absent tranees

6.5. Include hyperlinks to original resources

7. Sample Activities

7.1. Web Field Trips

7.2. Problem Solving

7.3. Writing Groups

7.4. Cooperative Debate

7.5. Case Analysis

7.6. Course Reading Discussion