Your interaction encourages students to post more often and stay engaged. At the end of each module, review some of the issues and themes that emerged from online discussions. However, some people still prefer to lurk in online forums. You’ll end up with too many redundant discussion threads of questionable value—a real turn-off. 38 Spring Street Keep track of thoughtful or insightful questions and comments, especially if online discussion participation is required. Make use of breakout rooms to get students together for discussions. Crack a joke, ask students to solve a puzzle, throw in random trivia—it is always a good idea to include a surprise element in your online class. Require students to have evidence ready at the start of the discussion. Find a hot topic—a news item or industry development—and have students debate it. 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. 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 … 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. Discussions give students the opportunity to reflect upon and apply what they’ve learned. As a result everyone talks to each other and students don’t feel alone. Despite their universal use in online teaching, discussion boards have significant drawbacks for educators and students alike. Encourage your students to do the same. Students and teachers can actually have analytical discussions and debates. Avoid the overuse of exclamation points! Keep in mind that students must be intrinsically motivated to engage fully in their learning experience. Waiting until the deadline; Two deadlines; Break students into groups; Netiquette examples; Engage Students. Signs of an Engaging Discussion. Students who read all their fellow students’ postings consistently get higher grades, so you should do the same. Students participate early and adhere to deadlines and timelines. You have your lesson materials. Send an email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started. Their job is to encourage and facilitate conversation. 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. One method for increasing student engagement that has been gaining in popularity is engaging students in role play activities. 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. 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. A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. But as the course progresses, students increasingly talk to each other instead of only to the instructor(s). In an online course, often students are working alone without interaction with others. Acknowledge the time constraints experienced by full-time professionals who take online courses. But what can you do to increase student participation in online discussions? 7. Also, if students don’t have an opportunity to socialize, they might go off-topic in the course discussion forums. “I know it’s common for online students to not succeed at the same levels as face-to-face students,” said Robert Rivas, Executive Director of Innovation and Research. Your students will model how you relate to them. 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. 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 … Ask students to come to the virtual discussion with at least one question they would like to discuss. Watch the video and see the accompanying handout for examples of constructivist approaches to discussion design and facilitation strategies. “Flipping” the question, or restating it using different terms, can help students understand the discussion better. They don’t engage students easily, and they can’t duplicate the dynamics of a face-to-face classroom discussion. Setup is quick and easy: Teachers sign up, name their chat, and give students the URL. The instructor must ensure that meaningful conversation takes place. Let them choose which topics or forums they want to moderate on a first-come, first-served basis. A common default for online discussions is requiring each student to start a discussion thread every week. First, you should always observe and monitor the discussion. Personal conversations help students build relationships and a sense of community. Always be open with your students and they will respond in kind. 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 . Yikes. Discussion Design and Facilitation. Utilizing the above tips as you implement an online discussion will go a long way in student relationship management, increasing your presence, and encouraging creative thinking in the online classroom. A sense of community develops—a motivating factor when the going gets tough. Guide your students to go deeper and think critically about the subject matter outside of what is provided in the course materials. 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. Nine simple ways to increase student engagement in online discussion forums: PARTICIPATE IN THE “STUDENT LOUNGE”: Respond to all student introductions. You could do this as a weekly video. Recommendations. 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. Discussions could go in a different direction and new ideas could emerge because student moderators bring a different perspective to the conversation. 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. They are not fixed. It’s okay to challenge and disagree with each other but only if it’s done in a kind manner. Use this forum for initial introductions. Toll Free Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. After a few weeks of taking the lead, assign the moderator role to one or more students, depending on class size. See how many of these proven tactics you can use in your online learning programs. This helps them learn more. You incorporate humor, images, and frame your responses and statements for students to better understand you. Affirm (but don’t flatter) your students collectively and individually, with recognition of what they brought to the discussion. 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. Students take responsibility for sustaining the discussion 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. In every classroom, there are students who always have their hand raised to participate, and those who are hesitant to engage. Beyond the Discussion Board: How Can I Engage Online Students? #1: Embed online discussion into course design. In this model, students attain a cognitive presence in the community through forming their own inquiries. A number of steps can be taken to promote an engaging and interactive online discussion, beginning with drafting the discussion questions that students are asked to respond to. A common misconception about online learning is that students only sit in front of their computers. Discussions are driven by questions – so ask. VAT Number: IE8234574D Post discussion guidelines in the online community, for example, ask students to respond thoughtfully and ask open-ended questions. Throw In A Surprise Element. participate in their own learning process and sometimes even in course design They should know that what they’re doing here matters. Here are a few ideas for increasing and ensuring higher levels of student engagement in online courses: 1. This will draw on not only what they’ve learned from the class, but also what they’ve gathered from their life experiences. Perfect! This Follow-up on all questions – either privately or publicly. Ireland. Teachers can prompt students in online collaboration activities by creating chat and discussion rooms or building online quizzes featuring the most interesting topics from the lesson. The discussion forums are the heart and soul of your online classroom. 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. Provide tips for time management. 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. P.O. NH 03060-0801 The affirmation may even be part of the framing you use to then ask them a question or encourage them to go deeper. To keep students engaged, return online assignments quickly and with substantive feedback. Post your own introduction and talk about both your personal and professional background. Encourage students to ask additional questions during the guest’s stay. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Discussion topics and questions must be aligned with the … +1(603) 654-3500 Moderators feel a sense of ownership—a motivating emotion. 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. That might be true if the course is designed that way, but one way to engage online learners is to get them out of their chairs (or beds) and get them involved in active learning. 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. Instead, give students the “space” to respond to each other. Your students will model how you relate to them. Try asking the question in a different way. Some students find it hard to follow conversation threads. They’re more likely to be passive participants who are happy to read but not comment. However, this practice leads to a cluttered forum. However, there is more your students can do with Google than publish, engage in digital notebooks, make presentations, and complete assessments. Provide public feedback as well. Students reflect thoughtfully on relevant content and refer to course concepts and materials. To analyze conceptual engagement in students' online discussion, we coded all forum posts in two sections using the “speaking variables” scheme, which comprises five dimensions: Argumentation, Responsiveness, Elicitation, Reflection on Individual Processes, and Reflection on Group Processes (Wise, Zhao et al., 2014). This sense of belonging is a motivating factor for continuing discussion participation as time goes on. 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. +1(877) WBT-7700, WBT Systems Limited When you ask, be sure to acknowledge and act on their comments if needed. With minimal effort on the instructor’s part it is indeed possible to engage students despite having little to no face-to-face contact. And when that training is happening online, involving you, your LMS, and a bunch of screens? We wanted to use this data to develop a variety of strategies for faculty to use to better engage their students. Harcourt Street Online discussion forums. Online discussions also give students a chance to interact with each other and build relationships. Bonni recommends: Michael hyatt's ideal week blog post and template 2. Follow-up on all questions – either privately or publicly. Pose an open-ended yet specific question. Ideally, the boards not only fuel student engagement, but they also facilitate critical thinking and a sense of community in online environments. Point out any conversations in the personal forum that the guest might want to dive into. Different Ways To Make Online Discussion Forums Engaging And Fun. Box 801 NEVER TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Periodically ask your students what’s good (or bad) about a particular discussion. Shifting the workload toward the students. Provide feedback to the moderators as they go. Provide suggestions for related content if students want to go deeper on a topic. If you notice some students have not been adequately participating in the discussion, send reminder emails to them individually to encourage their participation. You could call your forum for off-topic discussions the Student Lounge, Break Room, or Water Cooler. Ask students to generate their own discussion questions. 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). Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. It’s engaging, fun and they can use their own devices! Fax One definition of active learning is “hands-on learning,” although that could probably include “hands-on your mouse,” which is not the … Suggest a baseline amount of time to dedicate to online discussions. 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. Think of it as a teacher-moderated, private version of Twitter, where students can discuss topics that might just transcend the virtual space. +353 1 417 0100 But, I believe that online discussions foster a sense of community and connection between the teachers and the students and each other. 1). Share your observations and provide some advice on how to better approach the discussion requirement. Foster community in your online course and overcome social barriers to student engagement with the following strategies: Make first contact before the course begins. Recalling and applying information is part of the learning process—it’s required to make learning stick. If there’s more than one moderator, ask them to split up the days so they have time off during the week. +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. But when you’re doing corporate training for adults, it gets even harder. You have a group of individuals with different learning styles. Get evidence from the get-go. Discussion boards also fuel an impressive level of student contempt. Highlight the good points your students have made. Tell students how they’ll be evaluated on their discussion contributions and how online community participation factors into their grade. What could be improved? One side puts forth an argument and the other side responds with an opposing argument. How to increase student participation in online discussions. 3. Remind students how their new knowledge and skills will help them make a difference in the world, even in small ways. 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. Record videos using your webcam, smartphone, etc., and upload the files to YouTube, Vimeo, screencast.com, or use a service like VoiceThread. Odessa College, a community college in Texas with more than 8,000 students, wanted to improve their online course success rates. Breakout rooms to get students together for discussions to share time management hacks open-ended questions experiences online involving. 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