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Helpful Strategies and Tips: Discussion Boards

Submitted by on September 25, 2012 – 3:12 pmOne Comment

This post is part of the series Helpful Strategies and Tips: Designing an Online Course, which provides guidance through common challenges instructors face during online course development.

Discussion boards are the core of many online courses and play a key role in bringing a human element into the online classroom. Ask thought provoking questions to foster participation and information exchange between the students and teacher. As stated in QM 5.2: Learning activities provide opportunities for interaction that support active learning.

Provide your discussion board expectations, and use a grading rubric to help students appreciate the significant and important role discussions play in the online classroom. As stated in QM 5.4: The requirements for student interaction are clearly articulated. For example, you might set deadlines for responses. Set the first deadline to occur in the middle of the week for students to post their initial response; set a second deadline for students to respond to two of their classmates’ postings. This will eliminate students waiting until the last minute to post their responses and provide opportunities for a lively discussion where students can learn from each other.

Also, avoid commenting on every student posting. Allow students time to participate and develop their conversations with each other without too much interaction, comments, feedback, or analysis from you.

For help on creating targeted, constructive feedback for students participating in online discussions, see Seven Steps for Providing Constructive Online Discussion Feedback Successfully.

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