How do you engage with your online students? How do your students engage with one another? Online discussions afford many opportunities for student engagement and rich learning outcomes. However, creating and managing effective online discussions can be one of the most vexing of design challenges. Is an online discussion really a discussion at all? How? what are the many, many ways of “discussing” online? In this week, we’ll consider the art and science of online discussions, the variables that make or break them, and all (or at least some) of the various forms and shapes they can take.


Read + Discuss

Check out and participate in the discussion on our #readinggroup channel in Slack. What questions do these pieces raise for you? (Where) Do you agree and disagree? What’s missing from the debate?

Join the discussion anytime. If you’re interested in a faster-paced conversation, log-in on Friday at noon for the live chat.


Build Something:

Choose from the options below, build inside your course platform, then post a link to the build in our #build Slack channel.

Experiment with a discussion platform other than Blackboard, WordPress, and Slack (your choice — see readings above for some options or get in touch to ask for ideas). What’s possible there? What’s not? What practices would you pair with the tool to foster interaction? Create a sample discussion assignment that capitalizes on what this tool can do.

Write out at least two possible workflows for a discussion board. Can students see other posts before their own? Do you require responses? What is and what is not required? How quick are deadlines? Post discussion board rules/guidelines in your course site.

You’re the architect. Build something, anything emerging from readings and discussions this week.


iTeach+: Crafting Good Discussion and Test Questions

Thursday, March 8th, 1:00 PM
Collaborate Ultra Session

Not all discussion questions are created alike. If your questions are greeted with confused looks or deafening silence, maybe you’re just not phrasing the question well. Also, take home a useful resource for making your multiple choice, T/F, and fill-in-the-blank questions better. Old-school tests have their place, but there are ways to keep skilled test takers from bluffing their way through your exams.

See our faculty development calendar for more iTeach+ options this week.

Open Lab

Tuesday 2:00 – 4:00
Wednesday 1:00 – 3:00 (virtual open lab)
Friday 10:00 – 12:00