Alternative Strategies for Creating Effective Discussion Forums - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Alternative Strategies for Creating Effective Discussion Forums

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  1. Alternative Strategies for Creating Effective Discussion Forums Dr. Sam Cotton Depart. of Technology Ball State University Muncie, Indiana

  2. Major points • How forums are similar to face-to-face interactions • Required versus optional use strategies • Alternatives for assessment • Various methods of interaction for both teacher and student • Matching objectives and content to strategy

  3. How forums are similar/dissimilar to face-to-face interactions • Same discussions, slower reaction times • All class members are involved • More time to consider input in forum than in live class or electronic chatroom • Typing skills/techniques can become an issue in forum • 24 hour a day access to discussion in forum, limited access to all in live class • Potential for dramatic increase in volume and quality of communication forum over live • Online discussions can require much more instructor time than in a time limited live class

  4. Required versus optional use strategies • Optional participation • Enhancement of instruction • Alternative communication • Non-assessed – possible overall grade impact • Often limited participation • Required participation • Critical instructional tool • Group interaction strategy • Normally assessed • May require minimum standards of participation

  5. Alternatives for assessment • Primarily quality • Subjectively evaluated by instructor – explain method • Primarily volume • Word or post counts • Some use “curve” with this method – be careful with this • Combination of quality/quantity • Rubric • Chart of values of a number of factors • May exclude off content or superfluous items • Students can determine results prior to grading


  6. Simple Rubric Example – Total required can vary

  7. Disclaimers for previous Rubric • Idle conversation • Simple agree/disagree or yes/no • Aggressive, insulting, or slanderous posts • Superfluous questions or repeated statements • Each post considered one item for scoring • Three questions in a single post score as one

  8. Expanded/interactive submission tools • Electronic submissions can be attached to forum posts • All students can benefit from submissions of others • Assessments normally still confidential • Students can critique or help with the work of others • Submit drafts in forum early, then submit final products after revision based on input from forum • No artificial memory limits as in email submissions • Multiple points of view and shared expertise • Faster feedback due to more participants at varied times • Permanent record of all activities available to all

  9. Various methods of interaction • Teacher guided • Introducing “facts” – teacher in dominant role • Temptation for instructor to become overly dominant • Questioning/Socratic method • Teacher moderated • Teacher as challenger • Student guided • Role assignments - student assigned dominant role? • Teacher moderated • Student moderated • Low teacher input

  10. Matching objectives and content to strategy • Team activities • May use group forums • Can be restricted to group or open to all • Business and industry now often use distance teams • Whole group discussions • Topical • Peer support and input as well as instructor input • Shared research • Report findings or record group interactions • Rotating leadership • Students can experience a variety of leadership roles • Chair, recorder, editor, inquisitor, etc.

  11. Summary • Determine purpose/objectives of activity • Required vs. Optional • Assessed directly, general, or not assessed If assessed, explain method clearly • Vary methods • Avoid instructor dominance • Good tool for team activities • Encourages class peer support

  12. Questions / Discussion • Dr. Sam Cotton • Department of Technology • Ball State University • Muncie, IN 47306-0255 • 765-285-5640 • Fax 765-285-2162 • scotton@bsu.edu