Online discussion is a great social constructivist learning tool for students. It gives students a place to express their opinion and understanding. It also allows them to challenge one another to think deeper. The teacher acts as a facilitator to ensure that the discussion is engaging and focused. Students often need direction on how to approach a discussion board, so it’s a good idea to explicitly teach them the etiquette of this medium. It’s also important to encourage them to be active participants and make them realize that the more they contribute to the discussion, the more they will get out of it. The transition to an online format can be challenging for some students as there can be a tendency for the students to feel less connected to the content and the teacher. The suggestions and questions listed below are some ways to improve the online discussion experience.
Here are some prompts to stimulate conversation:
Do you think…?
Do you agree with…?
Have you seen…?
Can you clarify?
What do your classmates/friends think?
Where did you hear that?
Do you need anything else to answer this?
Do you have a reference for that?