Structuring Online Discussions Janet Lenart, RN, MN, MPH BNHS, School of Nursing University of Washington, Seattle firstname.lastname@example.org
Structuring Online Discussions Created for health professionals who are using online technologies to teach others. By Janet Lenart, RN, MN, MPH Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing University of Washington, Seattle WA 98136 email@example.com May 26, 2010 This project is supported in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant Faculty Development: Integrated Technology into Nursing Education & Practice Initiative Grant number U1KHP09543
Structure versus moderation of online discussions Structure: a variety of elements that are organized into a cohesive whole to support the interaction; the nuts and bolts. Moderation: facilitation of interaction that encourages dialogue and creates a learning community; the heart and soul.
Who Your decision Recommendations Number of students in a discussion? Group students randomly or using criteria? 10 to 12 students maximum Your course objectives and student characteristics will guide you in deciding how to group students.
What Recommendations Your decision Will you require participation in the discussion? What percent of the course grade is appropriate? What grading criteria will you use? Requiring participation is essential to creating dialogue and a learning community. One study demonstrated that 20% resulted in more frequent and meaningful participation than 10%. No additional benefit at 30%. See the next slide for a grading rubric example
When Your decision Recommendations Frequency and number of postings to be required? Deadlines necessary for postings in order to create a conversation? Specify the minimum number of postings and the maximum number of words (e.g. 200 to 300 words). Encourage additional posting but grade based on quality not quantity. Give deadlines so a dialogue will be created (e.g. post by Wednesday and respond to peers by Friday).
Where Recommendations Your decision Where in the course will the discussion exist? E.g., a separate discussion each week throughout the course, or only in specific weeks? Your course objectives, credits and content will guide you in deciding whether to create a new discussion every week or less often. To create a learning community and facilitate peer-to-peer learning, a discussion for the whole duration of the course is advised.
References A grading Rubric is found in Rovai, A. P. (2004). A constructivist approach to online college learning. Internet and Higher Education, 7, 79–93.