Discussions or reflection? Why not let students choose?

Some days, the right idea comes along at the right time. In today’s case, that has to do with online discussions. Facilitating authentic, engaging discussions online can be tricky at the best of times. Some students participate enthusiastically, while others may prefer to lurk. Students can learn just as much by watching and reflecting on a discussion as they can by participating, regardless of the format. So the question might be, how do we facilitate engaging discussions that help our students towards the learning goals for the course? Continue reading “Discussions or reflection? Why not let students choose?”

Adding a bit of hierarchy to Canvas discussions

If you make use of the Canvas discussion forums, you might have noticed that busy discussions can become a bit unwieldy to read. Canvas does have an option for threaded discussions, indicating a new thread and replies by slightly indenting posts, but once a discussion is active it can be difficult to keep track of the layout and hierarchy of the conversation(s). One option is to use the collapse threads button and explore each thread individually.

A screen shot of a Canvas LMS discussion forum with the threads collapsed.
A Canvas discussion forum with the threads collapsed.

The collapse threads feature can be useful, making students’ names and the number of posts in each thread visible. Unfortunately, the discussion text itself is still quite small, and now we would have to click into each thread to expand it. Continue reading “Adding a bit of hierarchy to Canvas discussions”

Using Student Self-Assessment to Grade Discussions

Most online courses feature a Discussions element, and it is very common for this activity to be worth at least a portion of the student’s course grade. However, it can be challenging to assign a grade to student work in Discussions — and this is particularly true if you have Discussions frequently in your class (like a weekly thread), if you have a large class, or if you just have a particularly lively or busy Discussion board with many replies.

As an alternative to carefully reviewing and grading each Discussion post your students make, why not try Self-Assessment for online course Discussions? Self-Assessment is a great way to support student autonomy, build metacognition, and move away from rote responses on Discussion boards. Rather, you are aiming to have students think critically about why and how they are participating in the Discussions, and reflect upon how Discussion activities can enhance learning for them and their classmates.

This post will outline how to set this up in Canvas, offers a sample rubric, and presents a few things to consider when trying this approach.

Continue reading “Using Student Self-Assessment to Grade Discussions”

Share your Synchronous Success

We’re starting an interactive component to the DEU Digest this week and we need your great ideas to make it a success.

Share with us, and your fellow USask instructors, some of the best synchronous learning activities you used to engage students over this past year. Write a short description of your best synchronous learning activity ideas below and add your voice to the conversation. Then upvote the ideas that inspire you to try something new.

See this Padlet board in fullscreen.

Made with Padlet

 

Featured image by: Interactive Content CC BY via Flickr

7 Tips for Setting up Group Projects in Canvas

Are you looking to set up a Group project in your Canvas course? Canvas Groups offers a “small version of a course” and can be used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on projects, such as Assignments, or to split a large class up for smaller, more digestible Discussions. Using Groups to assign projects to students can also help you give shared feedback and grades back to Group members more efficiently.

The Groups tool in Canvas is quite flexible, so this post will offer tips for using Groups in the most commonly applicable ways I have seen. There are some best practices, and also links for further help. Continue reading “7 Tips for Setting up Group Projects in Canvas”