Discussion by design: 5 steps to transforming online discussions into authentic learning experiences
The most common reason online discussions fail is because they are not designed to succeed. In this presentation, we will review 5 steps you can take to transform online discussions into authentic learning experiences.
Online discussions . . .
Collaboration and communication are essential to the learning process. However, online discussions--perhaps the most common method we use to engage students in processes of collaboration and communication--seem to ever let us down in the charge of engaging students in a learning process that results in the production of novel insights to propel the knowledge of the learning community forward in positive ways.
The most common reason online discussions fail is because they are not designed to succeed. Said another way, in online discussions we get out what we set up.
Here is a question, how surprised should we be that student posts lack meaningful content and that discussions lack meaningful engagement when we: ask every student to answer the same exact questions; tell students that responses must be of some very specific length (not too short, not too long . . . somewhere between 350-500 words sounds right!); ensure that every student posts at (well, "by," but what's the difference?) some very specific times; and, then force them to respond to other students who also wrote about the same thing they did, in the same allotted space as they did, under the same conditions as they did?
Asked another way: are we really surprised that students always respond to each other with "I agree," when we literally task them with answering the same question as their classmates and presumably hope that students actually do get the answer correct in some way demonstrated by the fact that they write very similar things as each other? Besides agreeing, what else would they do?
In this presentation, we will learn the 5 simple steps you can take to transform online discussions into authentic learning experiences.