ION | Illinois Online Network

Conferencing Strategies for Teaching at a Distance Discussion Questions

    Please discuss possible answers to the questions below This exercise will hopefully generate a lot of thought provoking discussion since there are many right answers to each question. After you have thought about your answer, click on the number next to each question to view an example of a possible answer.

  1. What could you do to "break the ice" or set the tone to provide a comfortable atmosphere in online discussions?
  2. Since we cannot see each other in the Virtual Classroom™, it is hard to tell if you are bashful, bored, sarcastic, or just kidding. What would you recommend as an approach to successfully communicate online?
  3. A husband and wife are taking the same course in the same VC, and you are the facilitator. Does this present a problem for you? The husband's messages to the VC are becoming heavily influenced with the wife's thinking, and the husband is expressing anger in the VC towards his wife, what are the issues and how should they be dealt with?
  4. In what way(s) does the facilitator's level of participation in the VC affect a student's attitude? Can a facilitator participate too much in the VC? Why or Why not?
  5. Identify ways in which the facilitator could lose the synergy in the learning process, why?
  6. Identify ways a facilitator can control the flow of material in the class (speed up or slow down the number of messages going to the VC).
  7. What role does the student play in defining the learning outcomes in the onground learning model? How does this change with the online learning model?
  8. Identify two tools utilized in the online environment and describe how you would use them in enhancing the learning process.
  9. Identify two means of measuring learning outcomes in the VC.
  10. What level of access should a student have with a facilitator? Why?
  11. What are some strategies a facilitator could use to encourage student participation in the VC?
  12. Why is lecturing the least productive method of teaching in the Virtual Classroom™? Lecturing plays a major role in the traditional classroom, what does this say about the traditional classroom?
  13. Subjecting students to memorization testing in the Virtual Classroom™ should be minimized, if not eliminated as an assessment tool. Why? (hint, think about the context in which the learning process takes place).
  14. If you teach a subject where memorization is necessary to achieve the course objectives (i.e. Chemistry), how can discussion contribute to your course materials? What tools cold you use to facilitate the learning process and how would you measure the success of the learning process?
  15. Discuss the idea of "value added" in terms of adding video, audio, and real-time activities to a text-based asynchronous online learning program.
  16. The statement has been made that "text-based systems do not remove bias, they merely shift it around" What does this mean?
  17. In the Virtual Classroom™, lectures are short and few. With this being the case, where are the students going to get the information they need in obtaining the learning objectives?
  18. Your online student calls and says, "my computer has broken down, I have lost all of my notes and will not have another system to use for a week. What should I do? " Oh, yeah, it is the fourth week of the course and the student is one of the worst. What action will you recommend? Why?
  19. What value does synchronous activity have in the online learning process, Why?
  20. In what way is the synergy created in online discussions a learning tool?