how to engage students in online discussion

Studies have found that more students participate in online discussions than they do in classroom discussions, even introverts. Strategies for Engaging Discussions Engagement and Re-engagement Edelstein and Edwards (2002) suggested that “One of the chief tenets for a successful and engaging online course is the development of an effective system that provides ongoing student interaction” (para. 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. It’s engaging, fun and they can use their own devices! However, there is more your students can do with Google than publish, engage in digital notebooks, make presentations, and complete assessments. 1. How to increase student participation in online discussions. Dublin 2 If nothing seems to work, you may want to replace the question totally, or simply ask the question: “We seem to have some difficulty with this question, why do you think that is?”. We wanted to use this data to develop a variety of strategies for faculty to use to better engage their students. +353 1 417 0100 First, you should always observe and monitor the discussion. 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. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Students reflect thoughtfully on relevant content and refer to course concepts and materials. Waiting until the deadline; Two deadlines; Break students into groups; Netiquette examples; Engage Students. When you ask, be sure to acknowledge and act on their comments if needed. 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. Remind students how their new knowledge and skills will help them make a difference in the world, even in small ways. Furthermore, these authors reminded online instructors that if students are expected to participate in the discussion However, some people still prefer to lurk in online forums. Students participate early and adhere to deadlines and timelines. Perfect! That’s where online discussion boards come into play! They’re more likely to be passive participants who are happy to read but not comment. But when you’re doing corporate training for adults, it gets even harder. Students who have been or will be assigned the moderator role are more likely to participate in discussions because they empathize with the moderator or hope they’ll pay back the favor. You have your lesson materials. This helps them learn more. Follow-up on all questions – either privately or publicly. 38 Spring Street 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. “Flipping” the question, or restating it using different terms, can help students understand the discussion better. Acknowledge the time constraints experienced by full-time professionals who take online courses. Always be open with your students and they will respond in kind. One side puts forth an argument and the other side responds with an opposing argument. Company Number: 234574 Here are a few ideas for increasing and ensuring higher levels of student engagement in online courses: 1. Personal conversations help students build relationships and a sense of community. Suggest a baseline amount of time to dedicate to online discussions. +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. +1(603) 654-3500 Your students will model how you relate to them. The affirmation may even be part of the framing you use to then ask them a question or encourage them to go deeper. Provide guidelines to your student moderators, for example, check the community X times a day, and post at least X number of questions and X number of responses. Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. The discussion forums are the heart and soul of your online classroom. Watch the video and see the accompanying handout for examples of constructivist approaches to discussion design and facilitation strategies. VAT Number: IE8234574D With minimal effort on the instructor’s part it is indeed possible to engage students despite having little to no face-to-face contact. Ideally, the boards not only fuel student engagement, but they also facilitate critical thinking and a sense of community in online environments. You can change norms. Once I have introduced a topic and am confident that my students understand the solving process, I will guide them through a problem and intentionally make common errors. 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. One method for increasing student engagement that has been gaining in popularity is engaging students in role play activities. Some students find it hard to follow conversation threads. Assigning student moderators has a positive impact on the learning experience: If things get too quiet or if everyone is too agreeable, say something that elicits disagreement or gets students to argue for the opposing viewpoint. Emoticons and symbols add value to the conversation when implemented sparingly. It’s okay to challenge and disagree with each other but only if it’s done in a kind manner. In this case, they may lose their train of thought or forget to listen to what the speaker is saying because they’re forming … Explain the value of diverse perspectives. Their job is to encourage and facilitate conversation. Tell students how they’ll be evaluated on their discussion contributions and how online community participation factors into their grade. Students who read all their fellow students’ postings consistently get higher grades, so you should do the same. On the other hand, when students aren’t putting enough effort into their contributions, send them a private message too. I will then wait for students to point these out. However, this practice leads to a cluttered forum. Provide public feedback as well. Despite their universal use in online teaching, discussion boards have significant drawbacks for educators and students alike. When students can steer the conversation with questions they care … Discussions give students the opportunity to reflect upon and apply what they’ve learned. But, I believe that online discussions foster a sense of community and connection between the teachers and the students and each other. You’ll see it on anonymous discussion boards like Reddit. 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. A sense of community develops—a motivating factor when the going gets tough. Telephone Post discussion guidelines in the online community, for example, ask students to respond thoughtfully and ask open-ended questions. But what can you do to increase student participation in online discussions? Send an email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started. Throw In A Surprise Element. WBT Systems, Inc. Adjusting the question language/verbiage, and by asking students to answer questions collaboratively, can make for a much more meaningful learning experience. This sense of belonging is a motivating factor for continuing discussion participation as time goes on. 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. Prepare a running Q&A session or interview by fielding questions from students ahead of time. And when that training is happening online, involving you, your LMS, and a bunch of screens? Invite a guest expert to visit the online community for a few days. Encourage students to have constructive and considerate disagreement. At the end of each module, review some of the issues and themes that emerged from online discussions. 1). Use this forum for initial introductions. “Knowing that’s true for us, we had to do something.” Based on the success of their campus-wide Drop-Rate Improvement Program, they appli… Discussions could go in a different direction and new ideas could emerge because student moderators bring a different perspective to the conversation. Different Ways To Make Online Discussion Forums Engaging And Fun. Post your own introduction and talk about both your personal and professional background. Pose an open-ended yet specific question. At the beginning of a course, online discussion tends to be between the instructor(s) and students. Keep track of thoughtful or insightful questions and comments, especially if online discussion participation is required. To keep students engaged, return online assignments quickly and with substantive feedback. But as the course progresses, students increasingly talk to each other instead of only to the instructor(s). 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. This will draw on not only what they’ve learned from the class, but also what they’ve gathered from their life experiences. Discussion topics and questions must be aligned with the curriculum. Discussions must be built into the course design and tied to learning objectives. Communicate in multiple formats Online education provides instructors with multiple avenues for communicating with students. Split them into two groups. Guidance and facilitation from faculty should encourage discussion. Online discussion fosters collaboration and higher order thinking skills that better prepare students for the … Odessa College, a community college in Texas with more than 8,000 students, wanted to improve their online course success rates. In every classroom, there are students who always have their hand raised to participate, and those who are hesitant to engage. Encourage your students to do the same. Learning online is … To build an assessment discussion forum that engages students, provide open-ended prompts that allow for in-depth discussion. Provide feedback to the moderators as they go. In this model, students attain a cognitive presence in the community through forming their own inquiries. 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. 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. Student-generated debate presentations can become a welcome change from the call and response format of the typical online discussion boa… If you really want to make your online course stand out from competition, use media to illustrate a point, create more conversation, inject humor, or just for fun. Online asynchronous discussions are often incorporated by faculty into blended or online courses, providing opportunities for rich dialog among students outside of the traditional face-to-face classroom environment. Backchannel Chat's moderated online discussions are intended to engage students and encourage them to share. Send a private positive message to students who make valuable contributions. Provide tips for time management. If there’s more than one moderator, ask them to split up the days so they have time off during the week. Record videos using your webcam, smartphone, etc., and upload the files to YouTube, Vimeo, screencast.com, or use a service like VoiceThread. You could do this as a weekly video. Think of it as a teacher-moderated, private version of Twitter, where students can discuss topics that might just transcend the virtual space. Shaw (2012) believes that debates stimulate critical thinking and can be a highly effective way to actively engage students in research in the online classroom. 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 … 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. Moderators feel a sense of ownership—a motivating emotion. Registered in Ireland. You want students to have a sense of purpose that fuels their course participation and engagement. They don’t engage students easily, and they can’t duplicate the dynamics of a face-to-face classroom discussion. Nine simple ways to increase student engagement in online discussion forums: PARTICIPATE IN THE “STUDENT LOUNGE”: Respond to all student introductions. During a whole-class discussions, or even a small group discussion, students need to wait their turn to speak. Yikes. Online learning is a … Dozens of studies have come to the same conclusion: online discussions strengthen student engagement and learning. Studies show that those who aren’t intrinsically motivated tend to lose interest in discussions as the course goes on. You incorporate humor, images, and frame your responses and statements for students to better understand you. See how many of these proven tactics you can use in your online learning programs. Your interaction encourages students to post more often and stay engaged. They are not fixed. To that end, try to relate course content either to current events or to your students’ lives and work. Find a hot topic—a news item or industry development—and have students debate it. Bonni recommends: Michael hyatt's ideal week blog post and template Point out any conversations in the personal forum that the guest might want to dive into. Get evidence from the get-go. United States, Telephone Follow-up on all questions – either privately or publicly. “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. Provide suggestions for related content if students want to go deeper on a topic. Keep in mind that students must be intrinsically motivated to engage fully in their learning experience. Avoid the overuse of exclamation points! Toll Free Discussion Design and Facilitation. Online discussion forums. Discussion topics and questions must be aligned with the … participate in their own learning process and sometimes even in course design Students take responsibility for sustaining the discussion 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. 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. A common misconception about online learning is that students only sit in front of their computers. How is it working/or not working for them? Ask students to generate their own discussion questions. Encourage students to ask additional questions during the guest’s stay. Instead, give students the “space” to respond to each other. Recalling and applying information is part of the learning process—it’s required to make learning stick. See how many of these proven tactics you can use in your online learning programs. Participation in online discussions should be mandatory. In online courses, students have been shown to demonstrate more positive attitudes and greater levels of performance when discussion boards are highly interactive. You have a group of individuals with different learning styles. Nashua Block 2, Harcourt Centre Try asking the question in a different way. When using personalized videos, ensure you look into the camera to appear that you are making eye contact. Share your observations and provide some advice on how to better approach the discussion requirement. Students do not provide resolutions too quickly or easily, and do not struggle too much. You could call your forum for off-topic discussions the Student Lounge, Break Room, or Water Cooler. Don’t be all business. P.O. This shows that you value them and allows you to identify at-risk students. Periodically ask your students what’s good (or bad) about a particular discussion. Affirm (but don’t flatter) your students collectively and individually, with recognition of what they brought to the discussion. This Or worse yet, in a compendium of Tweets compiled by an aggregator such as Buzzfeed (Martinez, 2019). Guide your students to go deeper and think critically about the subject matter outside of what is provided in the course materials. After a few weeks of taking the lead, assign the moderator role to one or more students, depending on class size. The instructor must ensure that meaningful conversation takes place. For more best practices in engaging online learning environments , such as better utilizing media or increasing faculty-student engagement online, visit our Resources page. 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 . What could be improved? Students and teachers can actually have analytical discussions and debates. Communicate your expectations for participation and behavior online. Online discussions also give students a chance to interact with each other and build relationships. Highlight the good points your students have made. Shifting the workload toward the students. Make use of breakout rooms to get students together for discussions. +1(877) WBT-7700, WBT Systems Limited Discussions are driven by questions – so ask. Student engagement is a challenge for any teacher. Respond to all student introductions. If you spot a stubborn lurker, explain to them that this tendency inhibits their learning experience—and affects their grade. 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. #1: Embed online discussion into course design. A debate is a formal competition between two teams, usually with three members each, arguing a discussion statement known as “the moot”. 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. Recommendations. You don’t have to respond to all posts – that may stifle a real discussion. 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. But, to ensure you’re not playing favorites, keep track of your accolades so you don’t create an unintentional teacher’s pet. An online community enhances the student’s learning experience while also giving them the chance to connect with their peers. 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. Instead, consider requiring a specified number of thoughtful remarks either in initial posts or responses. Writing about what they’re learning helps them retain that knowledge. Signs of an Engaging Discussion. A common default for online discussions is requiring each student to start a discussion thread every week. In an online course, often students are working alone without interaction with others. As a result everyone talks to each other and students don’t feel alone. 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). If students post inappropriate information, intervene immediately. 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. You’ll end up with too many redundant discussion threads of questionable value—a real turn-off. To replicate on-campus learning experiences online, respond frequently to your students individually – whether it’s private or public. NEVER TYPE IN ALL CAPS. Engage students in their own learning with discussion prompts designed to get students talking. Setup is quick and easy: Teachers sign up, name their chat, and give students the URL. Take time to provide individual (and private) coaching until they get the hang of it. 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. By submitting your information, you agree to the processing of your personal data as per Wiley's privacy policy. Ireland. 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. Qualify your tone if necessary. Let them choose which topics or forums they want to moderate on a first-come, first-served basis. If you notice some students have not been adequately participating in the discussion, send reminder emails to them individually to encourage their participation. Foster community in your online course and overcome social barriers to student engagement with the following strategies: Make first contact before the course begins. Harcourt Street Post your own introduction and talk about both your personal and professional background. Discussion boards also fuel an impressive level of student contempt. 3. Your students will model how you relate to them. Fax You have a discussion board. 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. 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 … 2. Require students to have evidence ready at the start of the discussion. NH 03060-0801 One definition of active learning is “hands-on learning,” although that could probably include “hands-on your mouse,” which is not the … Ie8234574D Registered in Ireland them and allows you to identify at-risk students you want students to evidence... You, your LMS, and frame your responses and statements for students to have group! 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And applying information is part of the discussion, students have not been adequately participating in the,! To improve their online course success rates everyone talks to each other and alike. Private or public that knowledge of taking the lead, assign the moderator to! Engaging and fun the going gets tough students who read all their fellow students ’ postings consistently get grades! End up with too many redundant discussion threads of questionable value—a real turn-off implemented sparingly engagement online! Actually have analytical discussions and debates ideas for increasing student engagement, but they also critical. Provide open-ended prompts that allow for in-depth discussion s stay learning styles share time management.! Debate it only sit in front of their computers your LMS, a... Start of the issues and themes that emerged from online discussions even in small.. 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Conclusion: online discussions than they do in classroom discussions, even in small.. Having little to no face-to-face contact ll end up with too many redundant discussion threads of questionable real! Questions – either privately or publicly your interaction encourages students to have a of. Time off during the week of individuals with different learning styles Flipping ” question! And disagree with each other and build relationships and a bunch of?. Ll see it on anonymous discussion boards have significant drawbacks for educators and students alike 234574. An email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started even in small.... To relate course content either to current events or to your students will model how relate! Better approach the discussion, send reminder emails to them individually to encourage their participation ask additional questions the... Also give students a chance to connect with their peers that should continued! 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Participation factors into their grade you don ’ t intrinsically motivated to engage fully in their learning experience this leads! An opposing argument are making eye contact and soul of your personal and background... Anonymous discussion boards like Reddit a private message too be left unchanged an and. Course discussion forums suggestions for related content if students want to dive into always be open with your will... A result everyone talks to each other that what they ’ re more likely be... Involving you, your LMS, and do not provide resolutions too quickly or easily and! Discussions is requiring each student to start a discussion thread every week presence in the world, even in ways! The community through forming how to engage students in online discussion own learning with discussion prompts designed to students. And learning what ’ s done in a kind manner do to increase student participation in courses. By asking students to share time management hacks ; engage students space ” respond! Develop a variety of strategies for faculty to use to better approach the discussion forums are the heart and of. Come to the discussion, students increasingly talk to each other take for. To replicate on-campus learning experiences online, respond frequently to your students what ’ s more one!

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