5 Tips for Improving Online Discussion Boards for Students like BlackhatWorld in 2023
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Whether we like them or not, online message boards are here to stay. Online discussion forums are increasingly being used in college courses, whether we’re teaching entirely online or incorporating it into a face-to-face session.
I have been a university professor for more than 30 years, and for 15 of those years, I have chosen to teach online. I have utilized online discussion boards to supplement traditional lecture courses and as a foundation for graduate and undergraduate seminars. I have used online discussion boards in classrooms with as few as 6 students and as many as 130 students.
At a variety of institutions, including high schools, two-year universities, and liberal arts colleges, I’ve probably hosted close to 50,000 online discussion forums and I’ve witnessed hundreds of other professors’ online discussion boards.
1. Divide And Conquer On Online Discussion Boards
Many professors utilize only one Quorahub online discussion board for tens or even hundreds of students to react at once, despite the fact that few of us would ever contemplate hosting a face-to-face debate among 50, much less 100, students.
I recently watched a colleague instruct a 100-student in-person lecture course. The lecturer made a discussion board online available for students to use before each lecture so they could debate the assigned reading. However, when I looked at the online discussion board, I found that very few students—if any—were actually talking about the reading assignment. It was necessary of each student to make a remark or question, which they all did. However, none of the pupils were engaged in discussing, which is defined as “talking about (something) with another person or group of people.”
An online dropbox might be more useful than a discussion forum if the main educational objective is to make students accountable for a reading assignment. However, you must divide and conquer if the teaching objective is to promote discussion and involvement regarding what pupils read.
Any class with more than 12 pupils should be divided into groups of six to nine students each. For each group of six to nine pupils, establish a separate yet concurrent discussion board. In this way, a class of 90 students might feel like a class of nine due to the ease with which students can communicate with one another.
Divide students into groups, and the online learning management systems (such as Moodle, Instructure Canvas, and Blackboard) will automatically create a different discussion board for each group. Therefore, while breaking up huge classes into smaller pieces doesn’t increase the burden, it really increases engagement.
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