Discussion Board Expectations

online group work

I rely a lot on discussion boards in this course and use the adjective “substantial” to describe the level of responses students should submit. Since this is a graduate level course, participants’ work should be of graduate level quality. While there is no set number of words that qualifies a “substantial” post, posting a single sentence as a response is probably not “substantial.”   As you write, consider Bloom’s Taxonomy and the types of cognitive levels you’re drawing upon.  If you’re just describing or restating, you’re not doing much higher level analysis and critique. I’d like to situate our discussions and spend our time in higher forms of thought (application, analysis, evaluation, synthesis).

I use the discussion boards for several reasons.  One, I get to assess whether students have interacted with the course material. Two, I get to foster discussion between participants where they can learn from one another. This, I believe, is the most critical element of my online courses.  Through the use of discussion boards, I can foster the formation of online learning communities where I act as a facilitator and moderator but not as the sole deliverer of information.  Use the forums to share your ideas and your experiences.  If you have a great idea, share it. If you think a topic needs to be analyzed and critiqued, comment in the discussion forums. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine.

As for how discussion forums are graded, if you meet the minimum expectations outlined in the module, you’ll earn 3 points. Students can earn up to five points by going beyond the minimum expectations.  Bring in outside materials or resources that are pertinent to the discussion.  Extend the conversation in new ways. Bring related topics to bear on the discussion.

Some modules may include analyses or assignments that go beyond discussing content. We may use a discussion forum to post these assignments but they will not be graded using the five-point discussion system.

Adapted from the Magna Online Seminar presentation, “Six Practical Strategies to Improve Your Online Course,” 2014.

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I rely a lot on discussion boards in this course and use the adjective “substantial” to describe the level of responses students should submit. Since this is a graduate level course, participants’ work should be of graduate level quality. While there is no set number of words that qualifies a “substantial” post, posting a single sentence as a response is probably not “substantial.”   As you write, consider Bloom’s Taxonomy and the types of cognitive levels you’re drawing upon.  If you’re just describing or restating, you’re not doing much higher level analysis and critique. I’d like to situate our discussions and spend our time in higher forms of thought (application, analysis, evaluation, synthesis). I use the discussion boards for several reasons.  One, I get to assess whether students have interacted with the course material. Two, I get to foster discussion between participants where they can learn from one another. This, I believe, is the most critical element of my online courses.  Through the use of discussion boards, I can foster the formation of online learning communities where I act as a facilitator and moderator but not as the sole deliverer of information.  Use the forums to share your ideas and your experiences.  If you have a great idea, share it. If you think a topic needs to be analyzed and critiqued, comment in the discussion forums. Don’t be afraid to let your light shine. As for how discussion forums are graded, if you meet the minimum expectations outlined in the module, you’ll earn 3 points. Students can earn up to five points by going beyond the minimum expectations.  Bring in outside materials or resources that are pertinent to the discussion.  Extend the conversation in new ways. Bring related topics to bear on the discussion. Some modules may include analyses or assignments that go beyond discussing content. We may use a discussion forum to post these assignments but they will not be graded using the five-point discussion system.

Adapted from the Magna Online Seminar presentation, “Six Practical Strategies to Improve Your Online Course,” 2014.