ODs allow for the expression all voices. ODs reduce anxiety. ODs nurture cultural differences. ODs encourage critical thinking. ODs allow for individualized instruction. ODs reflect generational preferences. ODs resemble present convergence culture.
Before… Build in connections between online and face-to- face discussions Don’t over-utilize discussion forums Provide discussion topics and/or questions in your syllabus calendar Make participation in ODs a significant part of your course grades
Set clear, specific, and concrete expectations: ◦ Develop rubrics that specify quality as well as quantity of postings ◦ Set expectation on how to manage emotions (Netiquette guidelines) ◦ Establish consistent organization
During… Build trust through face-to-face initial discussions Conceptualize learning Keep it short! No more than 2-3 questions Promote motivation by providing questions that encourage verbal immediacy behaviors: ◦ Mix opinion and content knowledge questions ◦ Encourage students to share experiences and beliefs
After… Feedback and Grading: ◦ Build presence, not pressure ◦ Allow students to rate discussions – Facebook culture ◦ Weave and/or quote student comments in class and individual comments ◦ Provide highlights of online discussion in face-to-face class
Finally… Prepare to adapt to the important success factors of your class… “Technology is about change. It changes the way we work. It changes the way we communicate. It changes the way we think. Perhaps most importantly, it changes the way we change. Technology challenges us not only to change the way we do things, but to decide whether the way we do things is important to us.” Sebastian Foti