Facilitating the Online Discussion Forum

Exchanging information, sharing strategies, brainstorming, debating, and exploring are necessary for collaboration and co-construction of knowledge in the online course. These opportunities for connecting learners and instructors often happen through the discussion forum. However, facilitation in online course discussions presents unique challenges and opportunities. Students may use inappropriate language, fail to expand on their thinking, or limit their responses to single-word answers. Sometimes the question does not inspire a robust discussion or require students to think critically. As the instructor, it will be your responsibility to intervene and get the discussion on track.

In this Discussion, you will, along with your assigned group consider the following scenario. You will read the sample student response and discuss with your group the most effective way to facilitate a robust, meaningful discussion.

Scenario (Group C):

Discuss strategies for dealing with personal opinion posts or posts that do not reflect critical thinking and/or content knowledge. How do you develop discussion prompts that facilitate critical thinking rather than encouraging "right" or banal responses?
Sample student response:
I think the best ways to assess learning are
* A written quiz
* A class presentation
* A paper

By Wednesday:

Post a response to your group's discussion board scenario. Explain how you can keep your students focused and courteous during discussions. As the facilitator, how can you structure a discussion question or forum to mitigate some of the issues presented in your scenario? Be sure to ground your response with references to this week's Learning Resources.

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