Issue Date: 02-14-2020
The discussion board is a prevalent tool for online or blended learning. Online discussions offer an opportunity for students to interact with their instructor, other students and course materials.
However, you may occasionally find discussion boards are not as effective or engaging as expected. Participation may be lower than anticipated or comments might be low quality. Students could grow tired of posting on discussion boards rendering it less effective as a learning tool. Instructors on the other hand, may become overwhelmed by the numerous comments and may find it challenging to review all of them.
This article explores ways online instructors can improve the effectiveness of discussion boards.
We recommend your first discussion board be “Introduce Yourself” or “Meet your Classmates”. This discussion will help everyone get acquainted with each other and get familiar with the use of discussion boards. Consider providing some basic instruction on how to use the discussion boards for those that may be new to the process. This is also a great way to get to know your students. You might use this opportunity to explain how and when you intend to use discussion boards in your course.
If students are unclear on the objective or expectations of a discussion board, this may deter them from participating. Prepare a guideline for the discussion, clearly state the expected participation guidelines such as number of replies, length of replies or what replies should contain. Be sure to set deadlines and explain when or how you will engage and/or grade responses.
Questions posed in a discussion board are the key to a valuable discussion. Questions should be aligned with learning objectives and the learning material.
Rather than just using written replies, consider allowing students to respond with multimedia – embedding video or audio, even webcam responses or allow them to link or embed presentations. This can help the discussion board feel more interactive and engaging, enabling student’s presentation skills and help build topics of conversation.
While discussions allow students to communicate directly, your involvement is critical to the success of the discussion.
Let students know their roles in the discussion board and how you will participate by replying to their input. As the “moderator” of the board, you’ll want to make sure that discussion doesn’t stray too far from the topic at hand and coach students along to the end goal.
Monitor for accurate use of concepts and knowledge taught in the class and promote curiosity and deep thinking by providing detailed and constructive feedback. It is important to give timely feedback and grades on students’ work in discussion boards.
To prevent students from copying or sharing responses, you might consider enabling the option Students must post before seeing replies.
Depending on the type of discussion, your discussion boards can be graded or non-graded.
Non-graded discussions are informal and promote community conversation. Everyone does not necessarily have to participate in non-graded discussion boards, but you could use “bonus points” to encourage participation.
If your discussion topics are meant to enhance a higher level of learning and skills such as constructing, analyzing, evaluating and synthesizing or serve as a method for the instructors to assess student learning outcomes, you may provide rubrics for graded discussions. Replies are then evaluated and graded based on the rubric that emphasizes accuracy, clarity and substantive contributions.
Below are descriptions of our upcoming offerings, to register or for more information on any of these events click on the registration links.
Date & Time: Friday, February 21st, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Location: Main Campus - DeSantis 5026
Learn about universal design (UD) and ways to improve your teaching and accommodate all learners in your classroom. Awareness of these tips and tools can help us make the best choices for our students.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=UDA, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
Date & Time: Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 10:15 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Alvin Sherman Library - EC 1037 (First Floor)
Canvas - Managing Quizzes is a building block training webinar hosted by Canvas, which explores the more advanced features of the quizzing tool. Instructors will learn how to leverage question banks and groups to differentiate quiz content and assessment. Participants will gain greater control over quiz sessions using the Quiz analytics and Quiz moderation tools. After the webinar, a representative from the Learning and Educational Center will review the webinar and answer any additional questions you may have. Please have one pre-built sample quiz from a previous course available to use for hands-on activities.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=CMQW, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
Dates & Times: Friday, March 20th, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 8:30 am - 9:30 am Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location: Main Campus- DeSantis 5026
During this workshop participants will be introduced to: WHAT experiential education and learning are, WHY experiential learning is considered a high impact practice, and HOW to begin integrating experiential education best practices into their classrooms.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=EE101WWH, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
Date & Time: Wednesday, March 25th, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
For faculty teaching a new course, the most common course design approach used by faculty is the content-centered approach (Fink, 2003). This approach uses a textbook table of contents or the expertise an instructor to identify topics to cover, designs lectures, activities, and assignments to teach, and assesses the student work completed. The content-centered approach simplifies course design but focuses mainly on content knowledge, which is the type of knowledge that is most easily forgotten (Fink, 2003).
This hands-on session helps participants design courses that move away from just content and design courses have the potential to impact students’ learning years after the course is over via two well-established course design models. Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) Backward Course Design utilizes the old adage, begin with the end in mind. Fink’s (2003) integrated course design recognizes that instructors need to not only identify and consider situational factors in developing courses but also align the instructor’s learning goals, feedback, and assessment methods, and teaching and learning activities so they are integrated in a way that supports and reinforces each other.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=DCIUBICD, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
Dates & Times: Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Monday, April 6th, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Designing for experiential learning not only takes creativity but it also take time and collaboration. This session will focus on how I designed an experiential learning course on water and sustainability, what I learned from the process, and what I would do differently next time. I will discuss active learning strategies, budget, coordination of field trips, and collaboration with the local community and how this intentional design aligned with NSU’s experiential learning guidelines and the National Society for Experiential Education’s Eight Principles of Good Practice.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=ReflectivePractitioner, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
Dates and Times:
Monday, April 20th, 2020 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Monday, April 20th, 2020Alvin Sherman Library - Writing and Communications Center 430A
Tuesday, April 28th, 2020Alvin Sherman Library - Writing and Communications Center 430A
Understanding student development theory is crucial to our work with students both inside and outside the classroom. This workshop will introduce student development theory and how to apply it when building curricular and co-curricular experiences. Ale Matias will share how student development theory is rooted in the foundation of NSU's First Year Experience (FYE) Peer Leader Program.
To Register for this course visit - https://nova.traincaster.com/app/Login.pm?course_code=SDTA, select TrainCaster, log in, and then click on Classroom Schedule.
This comprehensive training webinar is intended for instructors who plan to use LockDown Browser and/or Respondus Monitor with online exams. The session provides a detailed demonstration of both applications, including new enhancements that make Respondus Monitor even more effective and easy to use.
Wednesday, February 26 at 2 pm ET (11 am PT)
Click to Register
Tags: Workshop, LEC