Pose an open-ended yet specific question. Split them into two groups. Ask students to come to the virtual discussion with at least one question they would like to discuss. NEVER TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Setup is quick and easy: Teachers sign up, name their chat, and give students the URL. You don’t have to respond to all posts – that may stifle a real discussion. Affirm (but don’t flatter) your students collectively and individually, with recognition of what they brought to the discussion. What could be improved? But as the course progresses, students increasingly talk to each other instead of only to the instructor(s). If you are a tech-savvy soul, you will also want to check out this post about tech discussion strategies and tools for student discussion. Despite their universal use in online teaching, discussion boards have significant drawbacks for educators and students alike. D uring the past year and a half, our faculty development unit has been gathering data from students about how engaged they felt in their online courses. +353 1 478 5544, Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to receive our blog and updates, opportunity to reflect upon and apply what they’ve learned, online discussions are an essential part of the learning experience, online community enhances the student’s learning experience, Improve Student Success with an Online Learning Community, 3 Ways Your LMS Facilitates Reflective Learning, 3 Ways an Online Community Enhances Learning, 12 Ways to Increase Student Participation in Online Discussions. Teaching Strategies for Small Group Discussion; How to Engage Introverts in Classroom Discussion; 7 Free Online Discussion Tools; 10 Student Led Discussion Strategies for Spicy Discussion . Prepare a running Q&A session or interview by fielding questions from students ahead of time. “Knowing that’s true for us, we had to do something.” Based on the success of their campus-wide Drop-Rate Improvement Program, they appli… But when you’re doing corporate training for adults, it gets even harder. During a whole-class discussions, or even a small group discussion, students need to wait their turn to speak. A common misconception about online learning is that students only sit in front of their computers. Dozens of studies have come to the same conclusion: online discussions strengthen student engagement and learning. In every classroom, there are students who always have their hand raised to participate, and those who are hesitant to engage. You’ll see it on anonymous discussion boards like Reddit. If there’s more than one moderator, ask them to split up the days so they have time off during the week. This shows that you value them and allows you to identify at-risk students. Ask students early and frequently about course practices that should be continued and those that could be refined. It’s engaging, fun and they can use their own devices! The instructor must ensure that meaningful conversation takes place. Telephone #1: Embed online discussion into course design. Keep track of thoughtful or insightful questions and comments, especially if online discussion participation is required. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, developed by researcher Randy Garrison, makes the case that online discussion is most effective when students have a cognitive presence, a social presence and a teaching presence in the discussion. One method for increasing student engagement that has been gaining in popularity is engaging students in role play activities. With minimal effort on the instructor’s part it is indeed possible to engage students despite having little to no face-to-face contact. Require students to have evidence ready at the start of the discussion. Recalling and applying information is part of the learning process—it’s required to make learning stick. It could be something as simple as asking students to get up and take two rounds of the room they are sitting in or having them jump on the spot … Post your own introduction and talk about both your personal and professional background. You have a group of individuals with different learning styles. The best thing about online discussion forums is that all students can be active at the same time, discussing the topic instead of raising their hands and waiting to be called on. Online learning is a … Don’t be all business. Online discussions also give students a chance to interact with each other and build relationships. Ask students to generate their own discussion questions. Your interaction encourages students to post more often and stay engaged. The instructor must ensure that meaningful conversation takes place. Personal conversations help students build relationships and a sense of community. Students come to your association for education, but everyone also values networking and relationship-building—that’s one of the top reasons members join associations. Provide suggestions for related content if students want to go deeper on a topic. Guide your students to go deeper and think critically about the subject matter outside of what is provided in the course materials. NH 03060-0801 Communicate your expectations for participation and behavior online. On the other hand, when students aren’t putting enough effort into their contributions, send them a private message too. Suggest a baseline amount of time to dedicate to online discussions. Instead, give students the “space” to respond to each other. Your students will model how you relate to them. Some students find it hard to follow conversation threads. Discussion Design and Facilitation. See how many of these proven tactics you can use in your online learning programs. 7. Record videos using your webcam, smartphone, etc., and upload the files to YouTube, Vimeo, screencast.com, or use a service like VoiceThread. Knol sets the expectation that her students will use textual evidence, and she tells students to “prove it” so often that they anticipate her request, have their texts open, and often return to … Keep in mind that students must be intrinsically motivated to engage fully in their learning experience. participate in their own learning process and sometimes even in course design Avoid the overuse of exclamation points! Periodically ask your students what’s good (or bad) about a particular discussion. This encourages them to think about the topic the group will be discussing in advance of the conversation and identify some aspect of the topic that interests them. Remind students how their new knowledge and skills will help them make a difference in the world, even in small ways. Respond to all student introductions. This helps them learn more. Communicate in multiple formats Online education provides instructors with multiple avenues for communicating with students. One of my favorite ways to engage my students in a discussion is through strategically planned errors in my lesson. Seed a new conversation by asking students to share time management hacks. Beyond the Discussion Board: How Can I Engage Online Students? These activities can vary in scale from large, multi-day events (such as Reacting to the Past) to smaller activities contained within one class meeting (Carnes, 2014). Similarly, students who may be shy or more hesitant to engage in real-time conversation can prepare some “talking points” in advance of the synchronous session, so they feel comfortable engaging. One side puts forth an argument and the other side responds with an opposing argument. You have a discussion board. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome change from the call and response format of the typical online discussion boa… The Transformation of Corporate Diversity eBook, The Power of Flexible Partnership: Case Studies of a Diverse Group of Institutions, A Guide to Online Bachelor’s Degrees Post Pandemic, Different Learning Methods to Support Students and Faculty, Incorporating Storytelling to Promote Online Learning, Five Components to Provide Quality Online Instruction. Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. I will then wait for students to point these out. If nothing seems to work, you may want to replace the question totally, or simply ask the question: “We seem to have some difficulty with this question, why do you think that is?”. Take time to provide individual (and private) coaching until they get the hang of it. Yikes. Acknowledge the time constraints experienced by full-time professionals who take online courses. You want students to have a sense of purpose that fuels their course participation and engagement. At the beginning of a course, online discussion tends to be between the instructor(s) and students. Also, if students don’t have an opportunity to socialize, they might go off-topic in the course discussion forums. Socrative is a smart student response system that helps teachers engage and manage their students and classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games. +1(877) WBT-7700, WBT Systems Limited To replicate on-campus learning experiences online, respond frequently to your students individually – whether it’s private or public. Share your observations and provide some advice on how to better approach the discussion requirement. A sense of community develops—a motivating factor when the going gets tough. In this model, students attain a cognitive presence in the community through forming their own inquiries. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. You could do this as a weekly video. To keep students engaged, return online assignments quickly and with substantive feedback. +1(603) 654-3500 Qualify your tone if necessary. To ensure we, as faculty, connect with our students and deliver quality online learning experiences, we must re-think the ways we can engage with them to increase their level of participation so that students can reap all of the benefits of elearning. Their job is to encourage and facilitate conversation. +353 1 417 0100 3. When you ask, be sure to acknowledge and act on their comments if needed. Think of it as a teacher-moderated, private version of Twitter, where students can discuss topics that might just transcend the virtual space. Post discussion guidelines in the online community, for example, ask students to respond thoughtfully and ask open-ended questions. Get evidence from the get-go. Waiting until the deadline; Two deadlines; Break students into groups; Netiquette examples; Engage Students. Discussion boards also fuel an impressive level of student contempt. Block 2, Harcourt Centre P.O. United States, Telephone You can change norms. Perfect! Invite a guest expert to visit the online community for a few days. “Flipping” the question, or restating it using different terms, can help students understand the discussion better. Furthermore, these authors reminded online instructors that if students are expected to participate in the discussion Encourage students to have constructive and considerate disagreement. Students participate early and adhere to deadlines and timelines. First, you should always observe and monitor the discussion. Signs of an Engaging Discussion. Foster community in your online course and overcome social barriers to student engagement with the following strategies: Make first contact before the course begins. Chime in throughout the week so students don’t feel like you’ve checked out on them, but be careful not to steal their thunder. Odessa College, a community college in Texas with more than 8,000 students, wanted to improve their online course success rates. During a discussion, they recall information, put it into context, and ask questions that require them and their classmates to review what they’ve learned. This Learning online is … Moderators feel a sense of ownership—a motivating emotion. Send an email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started. Dublin 2 They should know that what they’re doing here matters. One definition of active learning is “hands-on learning,” although that could probably include “hands-on your mouse,” which is not the … Provide public feedback as well. Point out any conversations in the personal forum that the guest might want to dive into. 38 Spring Street However, if conversation is lagging, try one of these tactics: If none of these approaches work, acknowledge the lack of conversation and ask students why they think that is. By submitting your information, you agree to the processing of your personal data as per Wiley's privacy policy. Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. 2. Nashua Engage students in their own learning with discussion prompts designed to get students talking. 1. This will draw on not only what they’ve learned from the class, but also what they’ve gathered from their life experiences. To build an assessment discussion forum that engages students, provide open-ended prompts that allow for in-depth discussion. Student engagement is a challenge for any teacher. We wanted to use this data to develop a variety of strategies for faculty to use to better engage their students. Provide feedback to the moderators as they go. Send a private positive message to students who make valuable contributions. Discussion topics and questions must be aligned with the curriculum. If you really want to make your online course stand out from competition, use media to illustrate a point, create more conversation, inject humor, or just for fun. They don’t engage students easily, and they can’t duplicate the dynamics of a face-to-face classroom discussion. When using personalized videos, ensure you look into the camera to appear that you are making eye contact. Ideally, the boards not only fuel student engagement, but they also facilitate critical thinking and a sense of community in online environments. Post your own introduction and talk about both your personal and professional background. Use this forum for initial introductions. Fax Strategies for Engaging Discussions Engagement and Re-engagement Edelstein and Edwards (2002) suggested that “One of the chief tenets for a successful and engaging online course is the development of an effective system that provides ongoing student interaction” (para. If you spot a stubborn lurker, explain to them that this tendency inhibits their learning experience—and affects their grade. Emoticons and symbols add value to the conversation when implemented sparingly. Writing about what they’re learning helps them retain that knowledge. Forums are also the most interactive part of the classroom where students get to interact with each other and the online teacher has the most chance to bond with their students and create a sense of community in the online classroom. You incorporate humor, images, and frame your responses and statements for students to better understand you. We’ve been doing some studying of our own and found a dozen tactics that will help you get students more involved in online discussions. Participation in online discussions should be mandatory. Students who read all their fellow students’ postings consistently get higher grades, so you should do the same. Harcourt Street Encourage your students to do the same. The Fight Against Racism and Social Injustice, The Use of Mobile Devices in Online Classrooms, The Recipe to Become a Successful Virtual Instructor, Foster Engagement in Your Virtual Classroom, Preparing for and Teaching Video-Based Class Sessions, How to Promote Engagement in Virtual Classes. Company Number: 234574 Registered in Ireland. Provide guidelines to your student moderators, for example, check the community X times a day, and post at least X number of questions and X number of responses. Take time to explain to students why online discussions are an essential part of the learning experience—how they provide continual opportunities to reflect, recall, and apply new knowledge. Students take responsibility for sustaining the discussion Once I have introduced a topic and am confident that my students understand the solving process, I will guide them through a problem and intentionally make common errors. After a few weeks of taking the lead, assign the moderator role to one or more students, depending on class size. Whether they’re introverted, tend to think awhile before they contribute, or are just having a bad day, it can be hard to bring kids into discussions who are reluctant to add their voices. However, there is more your students can do with Google than publish, engage in digital notebooks, make presentations, and complete assessments. Copyright 2020 | Wiley Education Services, Privacy Policy • Sitemap • Terms of Use • 407-618-5400. Assigning student moderators has a positive impact on the learning experience: If things get too quiet or if everyone is too agreeable, say something that elicits disagreement or gets students to argue for the opposing viewpoint. But, I believe that online discussions foster a sense of community and connection between the teachers and the students and each other. Shifting the workload toward the students. 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