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Facilitating Online Discussions Jason D. Baker. Topics Discussion Value Discussion Tools Discussion Tips.

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Presentation on theme: "Facilitating Online Discussions Jason D. Baker. Topics Discussion Value Discussion Tools Discussion Tips."— Presentation transcript:

1 Facilitating Online Discussions Jason D. Baker

2 Topics Discussion Value Discussion Tools Discussion Tips

3 Discussion Value How important is class discussion?

4 Don’t forget: You can copy- paste this slide into other presentations, and move or resize the poll. Poll: How Important is Class Discussion in You...

5 Don’t forget: You can copy- paste this slide into other presentations, and move or resize the poll. Poll: How Important is Class Discussion in You...

6 Discussion Value “…when students interact with other students and their instructors, they are interacting about the content; some form of content is always present in interactive learning processes.” Kanuka, H. (2011). Interaction and the online distance classroom: Do instructional methods effect the quality of interaction? Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 23,

7 Discussion Value “Requiring student interaction just for the sake of interaction may lead to diminished completion rates. Again, standards for online teaching should not contain arbitrary thresholds for required interaction.” Grandzol, C. & Grandzol, J. (2010). Interaction in online courses: More is not always better. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 13(2). Retrieved from

8 Discussion Tools: COI

9 Discussion Tools More than just the discussion board… Match the tool to the task…

10 Discussion Tools Videos Podcasts Voice Boards Conferencing Virtual Classrooms Journals Presentations Forums Blogs Wikis Social Networking Documents eBooks Text Chat Surveys Cloud Docs Collaboration Richness Media Richness

11 Discussion Tips Social Presence “The ability of participants to identify with the community, communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop inter- personal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.”

12 Tips: Social Presence Share Personal Introductions – Faculty & Students – Include Pictures, Audio, Video – Model Self Disclosure – Ask Follow-Up Questions Establish Classroom Social Space – Water Cooler/Coffee Shop Forum – Allow New Threads & Subscriptions

13 Tips: Social Presence Connect to External Social Space – As Appropriate… – Office, Telephone, Other Contacts – Share Links to Blogs – Offer Social Networking Connections Pray and Model Prayer – Offline and Online – Synchronous and Asynchronous

14 Tips: Social Presence Be Yourself – Don’t Hide Your Personality – Students Want You to be Real Cautions – Humor, Particularly Sarcasm – Tone, Particularly in Written Communication – Individual vs. Group Communication – Monitor Group Dynamics

15 Discussion Tips Teaching Presence “The design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educational worthwhile learning outcomes.”

16 Tips: Teaching Presence Not Limited to Discussions – Syllabus – Commentaries – Podcasts – Voice Announcements – Video Vignettes Explain the Course Design – Little Shared History with Online Learning

17 Tips: Teaching Presence Set Expectations – Course Rhythm – Purpose of Discussion Connect to Learning Objectives – Participation Requirements Point Allocation Due Days/Dates Expectation of Frequency, Length, Content, Style – Identify Your Role

18 Tips: Teaching Presence Choose Appropriate Tools Create Discussion Groups – Large vs. Small – Consider Random Assignment Craft Discussions – Deliberate, Planned, Purposeful – Not “Talk Among Yourselves” Create Space for Procedural Questions

19 Discussion Tips Cognitive Presence “The extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse.”

20 Tips: Cognitive Presence Frame Questions Carefully – “What do you think of this chapter?” tends to provoke a casual response – “What are the three theories in this chapter?” tends to provoke a structured response drawn from the reading – “Contrast theories X and Y. Which do you think is more applicable to situation Z?” tends to provoke a more analytical and interactive response

21 Tips: Cognitive Presence Model & Reinforce Expectations – Clear Purpose to the Discussion – Use Names – Reference Sources – Seek Clarification and Follow-Up – Dig Deeper & Evaluate Responses – Follow the Rhythm of the Discussion Create Space for Content Questions

22 Tips: Cognitive Presence Feedback is Critical – Silence (from you or them) = ? – Students Desire Timely Feedback Content Engagement Personal Encouragement or Correction Grading Students Want to Hear from You – Don’t Curtail Discussion (Timing) – Do Share Your Insights

23 Tips: Cognitive Presence Consider Varied Discussion Approaches – Case Study – Role Play – Panel Discussion or Debate – Student Discussion Leaders – Students Initiate Questions (Pull vs. Push) – Q&A with a Guest Expert – Create a Repository – Collaborative Writing

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