Tips for Encouraging Meaningful Online Discussions

Blog Post created by aauthier on Apr 10, 2017

Discussions are an effective pedagogical tool in just about any classroom. They force students to think, ask questions, provide examples and analogies, and critique opposing points of view. When we lead discussions in a face-to-face classroom, we have a variety of tools at our disposal to encourage thoughtful participation from our students. We walk around the room, read body language, ask leading questions, and sometimes even wait out an "awkward silence" to draw out an idea that we can tell a student is sitting on. Unfortunately, many of these traditional strategies don't work in an asynchronous, online environment. However, as an online instructor, you still need to be able to create the same kind of environment for your students in an online discussion forum. Online students still need to "see" that you're part of the discussion. You still need to be able to take the pulse of your students, encourage thoughtful participation, and draw out the responses of the "social loafers" that are often slow to get involved. But how do you do it?


In the final What's Your Problem? episode of the Winter 2017 semester, Jason Kane, Kaylynn Mortensen, and I provide a few strategies for encouraging meaningful online discussions. Check it out below:


What's Your Problem? Season 2, Episode 4: Lackluster Online Discussions


We'll be back with Season 3 beginning in August. In the meantime, don't forget to subscribe to the What's Your Problem? YouTube Channel to catch up on past episodes.