ION | Illinois Online Network

Conferencing Strategies for Teaching at a Distance Discussion Questions

Question 1

What could you do to "break the ice" or set the tone to provide a comfortable atmosphere in online discussions?

The Bio

Each participant sends a one-screen description of him/herself to the Virtual Classroom. This can be modeled by the instructor so students know what to write. This exercise is nice because it allows the course participants to have a profile of their classmates and it permits them to identify common interests and goals (don't students do this in their face-to-face courses?). This helps the students find partners to work with during group activities later in the course. The "bio" exercise at the beginning is helpful for students to put a "face" on the usernames that appear next to earch participant's postings.

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