At Capella University online courses are offered using an asynchronous learner discussion forum.At the conclusion of each course, learners are requested to complete and electronically submit a course evaluation form.
A document analysis of more than 3000 course evaluations from 154 courses conducted during
the 11 quarters was conducted. Each course folder was reviewed. The narrative responses
were ultimately grouped into the following categories: Faculty Feedback, Learner Discussions
and Course Requirements. General observations related to these categories were presented
followed by several tips for successful teaching in an online environment using an asynchronous learner discussion forum. The tips were initially generated by the document analysis. Additional tips were added and the list was revised each quarter following the end-of-quarter teleconference with the instructors. Although this research was done during the early stages of online learning, the analysis and results of the study are still valid today.
Type of Material:
Individual or team, self paced or workshop delivery mode for faculty development
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Identify Major Learning Goals:
The resource provides tips for successful teaching in an online environment using asynchronous discussion forums. As a result of the document analysis, three piles of information were extracted, judged to be comprehensive and illuminating, then named Faculty Responsibility, Facilitating Discussions, and Course Requirements. Within each category, several subtopics were identified that are very useful for online discussions today:
A. Faculty Responsibility
1) Learners want prompt feedback from faculty and seem to appreciate it when these comments
were posted in the discussion forum in a timely manner.
2) Learners want specific feedback and view comments such as "nice job" or "good response" as
being indicative of a disinterested or lazy faculty member.
3) Learners do not object to opinions being challenged as long as the individual was not belittled
or humiliated for offering the response.
4) Learners prefer that negative comments be given privately, preferably through a phone call.
B. Facilitating Discussions
1) Learners appreciate and seemed to learn much from the responses of other learners.
2) Learner responses seem to be a valuable aspect of the course.
3) There is perceived guilt among some learners about not posting when postings of other
learners have captured the essence of what they wanted to say.
4) Learners do not like it when fellow classmates did not keep current with the weekly online
5) Learners prefer discussion forums that encourage open and honest dialog; are not dominated
by one or two "dominant voices;" and are not used to express non-course-related concerns or
C. Course Requirements
1) Learners want guidelines from faculty regarding course requirements.
2) Learners were dissatisfied when URLs were inoperative or incorrect.
3) Learners want to immediately apply information gleaned in class to life or work situations.
4) Learners did not like being required to purchase books, articles, various programs or other
required material that were not fully utilized by the course instructor.
Target Student Population:
Online Faculty, TAs, and students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
A keen interest in and some knowledge of asynchronous discussions and online teaching.
The material is current and relevant to faculty teaching online and using discussion boards. The content quality of this resource is outstanding. It presents valid and accurate concepts, models, and skills that educationally significant for teaching in online discussion. It is complete in scope and ready for immediate use. Where appropriate, valid and accurate references, bibliographies and other supporting material, especially researched-based, are provided.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This article clearly articulates its purpose and goals. The reader will be able to effectively achieve these goals. Compared to other articles on teaching support and evidence-based practices, this resource is just as effective or better. It provides an excellent collection of Tips for Successful Online Teaching that include the main topics of Faculty Responsibility,Facilitating Discussions, and Course Requirements. The content level is appropriate for teachers and higher education instructors. The resource prompts the user to go further while promoting creative use beyond the given research. It is still innovative and original.
While the collection of tips serves as an excellent reminder and/or instigation to improve online discussions, examples of the tips put into practice and suggested techniques, would make this resource even more effective. But these additions are beyond the scope of this article and research study.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This resource presents the information clearly and arranged in an orderly and meaningful fashion. The information is well organized and logically ordered. The content level is appropriate for the expertise level of the intended audience. This resource presents information in ways that are familiar to the intended audience and that would be motivating to them.
Other Issues and Comments:
The content is clear and will be useful for faculty who struggle with managing a discussion and getting students engaged.
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.