Meaningful Online Discussions

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How can instructional designers help faculty create online discussions that prompt students to have meaningful dialogue? What components make a question "good" enough to spark meaningful dialogue that will engage students?

In this session, you will learn best practices for developing asynchronous online discussions and see examples of discussion styles that have sparked meaningful dialogue in Penn State World Campus courses. 

Presenters

Louisa is a Learning Experience Designer in the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center at the University of Maryland - College Park. In her role, she provides instructional consulting, support, and training, learning technologies support and implementation, and instructional design support. Louisa is very passionate about active learning, instructor presence, and helping instructors create an engaging learning environment for students. Louisa holds a B.S. in Applied Behavioral Sciences and an M.Ed. in Training and Development, both from Penn State Harrisburg. She is a Quality Matters course reviewer and completed the Online Learning Consortium’s Instructional Designer Certification.

Extended Abstract

When discussions take place in face-to-face courses, a few students will answer a posed question, then based on their answers, a meaningful, engaging conversation can begin in the classroom. Usually, the conversation causes students to reflect on a topic or discover new knowledge and understanding of a topic. 

Is there a way to re-create this in the online environment? How can instructional designers help faculty create asynchronous online discussions that prompt students to have meaningful dialogue? What components make a question "good" enough to spark meaningful dialogue that will engage students?

In this session, you will learn best practices for developing asynchronous online discussions which include: discussion forum styles, discussion prompt design, interaction etiquette, instructor feedback, and student considerations and contributions. Also, you will see 4 online discussion methods that sparked meaningful dialogue in Penn State World Campus courses, and student feedback on those discussion styles.