Four Types of Discussion Forums in Online Courses

A key component of any online course is the discussion board.  As online courses have matured, we  realize that not all discussion forums are or should be the same.  Some discussions are for building community; other discussions are for exploring new ideas; others are for applying core concepts; and others are for gathering evidence of understanding.  If the purposes of discussion boards differ, then how we structure, monitor, and evaluate the discussion boards should also differ.  Many purposes for asynchronous discussions have been identified (Painter, Coffin, & Hewings, 2003; Grogan, 2005), but in the interests of simplicity, this posting focuses on four types.  It is worth noting that these discussion types build in consistent, regular and substantive dialogue and interaction between faculty and students and between students.  Regular and substantive dialogue is one of the requirements…
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Library of eCoaching Tips

April 2021  Update:  If you are a faculty member or instructor, wondering about how to teach online, don't miss the Ten Best Practices for Teaching Online.  It will take about 10 minutes to read and will help build your confidence about teaching online, whether teaching synchronously with zoom or switching to a fully online model.   This library of tips and the posts in the Thoughts on Teaching blog  answer many of the most common questions about teaching online and also address specific challenges from 2020.  The post on Four Types of Discussion Forums from April 2019 might be of particular interest and help if you are teaching online for the first time, and wonder how to use discussion forums.  Note:  The book — The Online Teaching Survival Guide — that organizes all these tips into…
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