This seven-page document serves as an excellent resource for both new and experienced online instructors. The author provides well organized ideas for use in the online classroom. Online instructors can apply these concepts, ideas and resources immediately. It contains useful content to guide new online faculty through strategies for facilitating and managing online discussion forums
Type of Material:
Identify Major Learning Goals:
According to the author, the resources is designed to “…help educators new to online teaching, design, facilitate, and a manage effective discussions for learners in online courses in order to establish the level of social presence needed to encourage inspirational and meaningful learning.”
Target Student Population:
New online faculty designing online discussion learning activities.
New online faculty managing and facilitating online discussion forums.
Experienced online faculty needing a refresher on strategies for effective management and facilitating of online discussion forums.
Graduate students functioning as online teaching assistants in courses with online discussion activities.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Users will be required to have basic knowledge of online learning environments; and navigation of online discussion forums
The content is well presented and supported by research.
The content is presented in concise sections and in point form which will work well for users who learn best by following sequentially.
A variety of perspectives and illustrations are presented in the content to assist those new to online discussion forums and those requiring a refresher.
Link to the author’s digital story redirects readers to a new website. Digital story could not be found. Typo on number 18 “…students are less like[ly] to share…” The sources/references are now dated and the content can benefit from more recent research in the area.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
-Resource can be used as an experiential guide for online instructors.
-Resource is well organized and connects readers to additional online resources for use in the online classroom.
-Participation expectations can be easily incorporated into an online classroom.
-This resource can be used as foundation for more appealing faculty development lessons that accommodate multiple learning styles.
Multiple learning styles are not facilitated. Links to other types of resources (video or audio) would strengthen the effectiveness of this resource.
A summary section would aid in reinforcing learning.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The material is easy to navigate and use of bold text and bullets provide the user with cues to key points.
Face to face faculty moving to online should find the text based format familiar and easier to use.
-A renumbered list under each main category would have been helpful.
-A statement regarding the implementation of inspiration points would be helpful considering the various course management systems and mechanisms that can be used for this type of interaction.
Other Issues and Comments:
This resource is an excellent read providing great ideas and web resources on the effective use of discussions in the online learning environment.
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