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Enlivening Online Discussions

Enlivening Online Discussions

Do you use discussion forums in your class? Have you found them challenging to engage students with? Here are a few strategies for facilitating greater engagement among students in discussion boards or forums.Illustration of various means of communication

  • Use Small Groups – organize class discussions into small groups rather than using one forum for the whole class to post their discussion responses. This reduces duplication and redundancy and allows it to be a more personal experience for students

  • Incorporate Reflection & Multimedia – Ask the groups to reflect on their collective discussions by collaboratively identifying some key insights that they gained from their discussion and how those insights connect to the reading or course material. This reflection can be in the form of a video, podcast (audio), infographic, slide presentation or text

  • Remember the human component! – Rather than immediately beginning each forum discussion with a course-related question, aim to build social presence and community in the class by starting with a question that encourages students to loosen up and engage in some informal sharing (e.g., What was a good streaming show you recently saw? What was a good or rewarding experience you recently had? What is something that made you smile?)

If you’d like assistance with this or anything related to instructional design don’t hesitate to contact us at learning_design@davidsondavie.edu!