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Tips for Generating Discussions in an Online Discussion Forum

written by: SeemaAdnani•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 4/7/2009

Have you ever considered how challenging it would be for an instructor to generate effective discussion points in a virtual class? Generating good online discussions to exchange ideas take the front seat and can be a challenge without face to face contact between the instructor and the students.

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    Discussion Forums

    Having effective discussions in the forum is an art. Numerous kinds of posts and discussions can be prompted on the discussion forums in an online class, but a bit of creativity boosts the value and quality that each discussion provides. Inept moderation can put off students from discussing the required coureswork in the correct way, while reading the research on how to facilitate quality discussions can get the wheels rolling for a smooth journey of the online class that you lead.

    Here are a few tips for online instructors to make online discussions a rewarding part of the overall online learning experience.

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    • Bring Expressions to Your Writing: The students should be convinced that their instructor has a deep interest in each and every inquiry or discussion started by them. In this way, you can bring expressions of enthusiasm and excitement to your responses. For example, "Ah! That’s a good question" or "Mr. Ben! You have a point" will encourage the students to participate more in the discussion.

    • Devote Time to Each Post: Do not let any of the posts go unanswered due to a lack of concentration or time. This will discourage the student who began the discussion. Even if the question asked is irrelevant, try to mold it and present the right solution.

    • Balance Your Participation: Generating good online discussions should not involve you overpowering the topic. As an online instructor, you can watch the participation of each student and correct them whenever you come across a wrong point. Your domination in the discussion can restrain the students to express their ideas.

    • Eradicate the Regional Differences: Online learning itself is a wonderful concept to eradicate regional differences as students from different countries get together on the same forum with the sole motive of learning. As a good instructor, you can ask every student to introduce his or her regional background and eventually appreciate the presence of students from variety of locations. It can be a good start to make each of the online learners comfortable.

    • Possess a Guide of Resources: The alluring aspect of online discussions is that you can instantly suggest learning resources to the students for reading further and taking references. Long lectures and discussions can be cut down in duration by posting links to the similar topics. However, don’t forget to ask students individually about what they learned.

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    The above mentioned points are sure to provide you with a fresh outlook in your instruction style. In that case, continue to second part of this discussion to learn more about facilitating online discussions.

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    References

    1. Facilitate Effective Online Discussions

    2. Role of Instructor

    3. Generating Great Discussions in Your Online Course