Training: How to facilitate online classroom discussions

February 6, 2018

By Allyson Davis
Associate Director of Online Faculty Development
Clemson Online

In a recent study, more than 85 percent of respondents believed online discussions helped them to reinforce learning and ultimately retain knowledge.

“This certainly made me sit up a little straighter,” said researcher R. Todd Kane, a digital strategist with Clemson Online. “If students are retaining information presented in the discussions, then I, as the instructor, need to make sure that the information is not only relevant and tied to the learning objectives, but that it is correct.”

Todd recommends a few tips:

· Frame the discussion: Having clear expectations on what you want in the discussion forums is critical for students. Unexpectedly, using the announcements tool in Canvas can help with discussions. Post your expectations as an announcement to the class before your first discussion activity. You can also use announcements to post wrap-ups to each week’s discussion.

· Demonstrate expertise: Use the discussion forums as an opportunity to share real world experience. Connect subject matter to examples from your own career.

· Use technology: YouTube, TED Talks, and the Khan Academy have a wealth of videos to jump start your discussion boards. Don’t hesitate to record yourself using Canvas’ built in media recorder to begin the discussion board conversation.

Learn more
Digital Learning Strategist Todd Kane will present his top 10 tips on facilitating online classroom discussions at 2 p.m. Feb 13 via webinar. Don’t miss this informative and engaging presentation. Register here.

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