Provide students a ‘read-reflect-respond-revise’ framework to engage in discussion boards
- For each assigned discussion board, frame the experience so that students:
- Read, watch, or listen to a content-driven resource
- Reflect individually on reactions and understandings—you can provide guided questions or leave it open; periodically, ask students to share with you via a reading reflection exercise
- Respond to specific questions in the discussion thread
- Review responses to original post and submit a ‘final thoughts’ post responding to questions and comments.
Use assigned roles to develop student ownership of discussions
- Once you have established discussion board norms, have students take more active roles in shaping the conversations.
- Opener—the Opener reads the materials ahead of time and formulates questions for group discussion (you can preview questions to offer feedback)
- Facilitator—makes connections within the conversations, commenting where there are common thoughts and asking questions when different opinions arise
- Closer or Wrapper—writes a final post that summarizes the group’s discussion and synthesizes the main points made
- For larger classes, break students into smaller groups to provide more opportunities for full participation. These Canvas Guides can get you started:
Do engage in the discussions but avoid lecturing
- Discussion boards can be lively spaces for students and instructors. However, we have to be careful to honor discussion boards as mutual spaces for exploration, brainstorming, and self-expression.
- Here are a few ways to effectively engage in discussion boards:
- Acknowledge responses
- Promote higher level thinking or questioning
- Address misunderstandings or provide further clarification about a point
- Encourage others to interact
- Post additional questions for further conversation