Goals & Objectives: (presented to students before the
activity or in the syllabus)
Objective of assignment:
In threaded asynchronous discussion forums,
students will identify skills and responsibilities needed to succeed
in the virtual classroom as determined by attaining an 80% level
of quality in postings and responses as determined by the discussion
forum assignment rubric.
What must students already know before beginning this lesson? The answer
to this question will vary depending on the needs of the lesson. In most
cases, the students will need at least a beginning knowledge of the materials
being discussed. Discussion questions usually occur after the students have
begun reading new materials. The discussion helps to solidify ideas, present
new perspectives, and address any misconceptions.
Materials and Resources:
What needs to be prepared in advance by the teacher? The instructor needs
to construct discussion questions prior to the given unit. There should also
be activities or readings that coincide with these questions to provide students
with any necessary knowledge to answer them or to begin formulating ideas.
What does the student need to bring to the lesson? To assess student learning
or to aid in knowledge construction, discussion questions should be done
after a student has already done any lesson readings or other information
presentation or representations for the given knowledge unit. If the goal
is to have the students reveal prior knowledge, discussion should occur before
readings. Questions regarding student attitudes and beliefs may be done either
before or after the students completes other learning materials.
Guiding Questions for this Activity:
What are the attributes needed to be a successful online student, and how
can I, as an instructor, help them to succeed?
Activity as Presented to the Students:
| Discussion Questions
The questions below serve as advance organizers to encourage
critical thinking and informed participation. Specific discussion
questions will be assigned to individuals with ensuing discussion
from all course members. This ensures that all participants have
ample opportunity to interact. Some of the most important discussion
questions will be recycled throughout the course. This gives students
the opportunity to consider more in-depth responses to key questions
as the course progresses.
Post your assignment in this forum by the date it appears
in the course calendar. The Discussion Question Rubric will be used
to evaluate the assignment.
- Answer the discussion question(s) assigned to you.
You should answer the question(s) that precedes your name.
- Suggested length is a response approximately equivalent
to 300 words. While your initial response to the question should
be brief, it should also be written within accepted conventions
of standard English. The follow-up discussion may take on a more
relaxed and conversational tone, but the initial response should
reflect appropriate scholarship.
- Submit your response by the date on the course
calendar so we have time to discuss the implications of your response.
- You should do the reading assignment for the week
before you answer your discussion question, and you are encouraged
to refer to the articles in your response, if appropriate.
- Please put the number of your DQ, and a brief description
in the subject line of your message
- Write out the question before you write your answer
in your posting. This will help us focus on the content and keep
things in order.
- Review the responses of your fellow classmates and
post your comments and reactions as appropriate. You are NOT expected
to comment on EVERYONE's postings - only those that interest you
(but a minimum of three).
Your assigned Discussion Questions
1. Before this course began your were required to submit
two assignments to the discussion forum. In your opinion, what was
the purpose of these assignments? Would you consider doing something
like this in designing your own online course? Why/why not? Student
2. List what you believe are essential characteristics
of a successful online student and why. Student Names
3. Can all students succeed in the virtual classroom?
What student populations might have the most difficulty with online
learning and why? How would you address these concerns? Student
4. McDonald discusses the emergence of constructivism
and collaborative learning in online learning and highlights the
potential for electronic communication. What are some of the pros
and cons of computer mediated communication, such as what you would
expect to find in most online courses? Student
5. The learner centered
classroom may be one in which students have more say over defining
learning outcomes, especially if one follows a constructivist model
in which students are adding to and shaping the process and content
of what is examined in any given unit of instruction. How realistic
do you think this is? Has the role of the student dramatically changed
from the traditional classroom model? Provide evidence for or against
your opinion. Student Names
Additional questions...followed by
link to the discussion forum.
One of the most difficult things for an instructor to do during a discussion
question activity is to let the students discuss. The students need to be
made aware of the expectations of their participation. The instructor needs
to be careful not to post in such a way that the discussion is squelched.
It is recommended that the students be informed of when they can expect the
instructor to begin commenting, such as the second day of discussion. Posts
by the instructor should help to organize, redirect, synthesize, recapitulate,
etc. the discussion up to that point and lead to further discussion if appropriate.
What accommodations may be needed for students with disabilities or other
special needs? This lesson requires few if any accommodations. Most text
to speech and speech to text programs can function within most asynchronous
discussion tools. The bandwidth requirements are also low.
Ideas for Activity Evaluation and Teacher Reflection:
How did the students like the lesson? Can be directed into the end of course
evaluation. The instructor should also monitor the activity and any student
'noise' concerning the activity.
How was student learning verified? A rubric could be used to assess the
student participation as presented below. The rubric may or may not be shared
with students depending on instructor preference.
Sample Discussion Forum Rubric
Not Yet There
Not There At All
Development of Ideas
Well-developed ideas; introduces new ideas; stimulates
Developing ideas; sometimes stimulates discussion
Poorly developed ideas which do not add to discussion
Does not enter the discussion
Evidence of Critical Thinking
Clear evidence of critical thinking--application, analysis,
synthesis and evaluation. Postings are characterized by clarity of
argument, depth of insight into theoretical issues, originality of
treatment, and relevance. Sometimes include unusual insights. Arguments
are well supported.
Beginnings of critical thinking; postings tend to address
peripheral issues. Generally accurate, but could be improved with
more analysis and creative thought. Tendency to recite facts rather
than address issues.
Poorly developed critical thinking
Does not enter the discussion
Response to Other Students and Instructor
Interacts at least twice with other students and/or
Interacts at least once with other students and/or
Does not enter discussion
Timeliness and Mechanics
Individual message and at least two responses posted
Standard English mechanics and
grammar were used in the initial post. (4 pts)
Noticeable problems with mechanics or late postings.
No messages posted
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