Discussions are often a standard requirement in an online class.  Traditionally a question is posed by the instructor, learners respond to the question and then reply to a required number of peer posts.  Yawn…

We need to start thinking outside of the traditional ‘how it has always been done’ approach to discussions.   Review these ideas for discussions that shift the focus from the traditional approach.

Assigned Roles

Consider assigning various roles to discussion participants.  For example, if you are studying a topic you may want to assign the roles of the various stakeholders to learners. You may want to first break learners up into smaller discussion groups.  They would then respond to the discussion topics and peer posts from the perspective of their assigned […]

Case Study Focus

The instructor may have a case study they would like to focus a discussion on.  Here the instructor would share the case study and learners would have an opportunity to ask questions or discuss potential issues related to the content.

Content Quest

When you are introducing a new concept you may want to ask learners to search online for related content.  This would be a great opportunity to share digital media about the concept and for learners to comment on what they discovered.

Invited Expert

Perhaps you know an expert who would be interested in sharing their expertise by participating or leading a discussion with learners.  This would allow learners an opportunity to pose their own questions, share ideas and receive feedback from an expert in the field.

Idea Sharing

Using the discussion forum for sharing ideas or brainstorming about an issue is another opportunity to encourage innovation.  Here learners could be encouraged to share and also to respond to peer driven solutions.

Peer Review

Discussions may also be a great opportunity for learners to share their work and have their peers review it. This peer review of the learners’ composition could offer valuable feedback for improvement and inspiration. This could also be a great way to lead up to incorporating a more formal peer assessment into the class.

Learner Led

Rather than the instructor having to create questions or discussion topics, have learners compose their own to start the conversation flowing.  This would encourage learners to direct their own learning and create their own meaningful dialogue.

Poster Session

You may have been to a traditional conference with a poster session.  Here large posters are created and displayed to share information about academic research.  Learners may want to design a digital poster to share information about their own academic research.  An infographic is one option to consider for designing a digital poster to share […]