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Facilitating Online Discussion in e-Learning


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As with in-person classes, discussion amongst instructors and students is central to most e-learning programs. This presentation looks at leading methods for facilitating online discussion. I will group them by methods that are largely synchronous or asynchronous.

Published in: Technology
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Facilitating Online Discussion in e-Learning

  1. 1. Facilitating Online Discussion in e-Learning Glen Farrelly March 2011
  2. 2. Session Agenda <ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Synchronous Online Discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webcasts </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web Conferencing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webinars </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Instant Messaging </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Asynchronous Online Discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Learning Outcomes <ul><ul><li>Learn key terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Determine key technologies & leading companies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify requirements & caveats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share best practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer questions </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Hierarchy of Internet Media INTERNET Email Instant Messaging Website Blog Social Networking Site VoIP Forum Mobile Website Streaming audio/video Wiki Virtual world Podcast & Online video
  5. 5. Internet Media Asynchronous Synchronous Blog Instant messaging (chat) Email Voice Over IP (VoIP) Forums Webcast (live) Podcast Webinar (live) Webcast/webinar (archived) Virtual worlds Webpage
  6. 6. Synchronous Online Discussion
  7. 7. <ul><li>Plan: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key terms & defining features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leading products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Requirements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best practice & caveats discussion </li></ul></ul>Synchronous Discussion
  8. 8. <ul><ul><li>Key terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webcast </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webinar </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web conference </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Related terms: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Streaming </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Podcast </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Digital video </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Video hosting service </li></ul></ul></ul>Synchronous Discussion
  9. 9. Webcast <ul><ul><li>One to many </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Streaming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live or on-demand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video or audio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No audience interaction </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Webinar <ul><ul><li>Web seminar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live or on-demand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often use presentations or screen sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Audience interaction not required </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Web Conferencing <ul><ul><li>Live </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One to many or one to one </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>ROLES: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>As participant: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Question or comment via the chat box </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Direct messages to everyone or presenter </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Indicate your “status” via icons </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As host or presenter: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Invite attendees </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lead session </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Field questions or notes openly or privately </li></ul></ul></ul>Web Conferencing & Webinars
  13. 13. Webinars & Webcasts <ul><li>Requirements for presenter & audience: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer no more than 4-5 years old </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High-speed Internet connection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media player or plug-in (e.g. Flash, Real Player) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Speakers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>To record: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Webcam or digital video recorder </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microphone (often built into camera) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sufficient lighting & low ambient noise levels </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Leading Products <ul><li>Skype </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost : voice only free, video free if under 2 users (otherwise $4.99/day, $8.99/month) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros : easy to use; familiarity; established company; screen sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons : cannot record; doesn’t have extensive functionality; software must be pre-downloaded </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Adobe Connect: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost : uncertain - expensive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros : established company; extensive functionality; can record easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons : learning curve; add-in software for presenters </li></ul></ul>Leading Products
  16. 16. <ul><li>Adobe Connect: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses Flash </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public or private </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Live or canned </li></ul></ul>Leading Products <ul><li>Features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>screen sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>text-based chats and Q&A </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>interactive polls </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>audio or video integration </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Slideshare's Zipcast </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost : free for unlimited number of participants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros : web-based (no downloads); established company; social media integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons : cannot record; advertising present; not private (unless pay $19/month) </li></ul></ul>Leading Products
  18. 18. <ul><li>Vyew </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost : free up to 10 people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pros : can record; entirely web-based (no downloads); additional functionality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cons : less well-known company; advertising present </li></ul></ul>Leading Products
  19. 19. Best Practice & Caveats <ul><ul><li>How have you used web conferencing or webcasting software before? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What technical or user hurdles have you encountered? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you share an instance when any of these technologies helped achieve an educational outcome? </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Instant Messaging <ul><ul><li>Also known as chat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not archived </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No visual threads method </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Via Web or mobile </li></ul></ul>Chat short hand BTW = by the way GMTA = great minds think alike IMHO = in my humble opinion K = okay LOL = laughing out loud TTFN = ta ta for now :) = smile :( = sad :O = surprised ;) = wink
  21. 21. Asynchronous Online Discussion
  22. 22. <ul><li>Plan: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Key terms & defining features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Overview </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Leading products </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Considerations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best practice & caveats </li></ul></ul>Asynchronous Discussions
  23. 23. <ul><ul><li>Key terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blog </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Forum </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Related terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Comment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Thread </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Seed </li></ul></ul></ul>Asynchronous Discussions
  24. 24. Blog <ul><ul><li>Informal style </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Topical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chronological </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Allow reader comments </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Blog
  26. 26. Forum <ul><li>Characteristics of forums: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Asynchronous </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Threaded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Archived </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. Forum
  28. 28. Forum
  29. 29. Leading Products WonderCafe Cost : free for U.C.C. churches Pros : integration & promotion of UCC tools & resources; easy to use; familiarity; no advertising; hosted in Canada (probably) Cons : minimal design customization; uncertain privacy options
  30. 30. Google Groups Cost : free Pros : familiarity; ease of use; privacy options; integration with other Google tools Cons : advertising based; little design customization Leading Products
  31. 31. Facebook or LinkedIn Group Cost : free Pros : familiarity (per user demographic); ease of use; integration with social networking features Cons : advertising based; distractions, i.e. not cloistered experience; no design customization Leading Products
  32. 32. Leading Products Haiku ( ) Cost : free for one class Pros : privacy options; some design customization offered; extensive functionality Cons : overwhelming functionality; more complicated set-up; learning curve to use
  33. 33. Forum Considerations <ul><ul><li>Required or optional participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moderated or open </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Automated posting notification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Structured or free discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeded questions </li></ul></ul>
  34. 34. Forum Considerations <ul><ul><li>Presence of instructor & students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teams or individual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Posting rules (e.g. number, word limit) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Code of conduct </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Best Practice & Caveats <ul><ul><li>What has been your experience with online discussions? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you share any examples of the effective use of forums, blogs, or chat? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Any offline lessons that apply online? </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. For More… <ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wikipedia & Webopedia </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How Stuff Works </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Glen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Try my blog, Webslinger </li></ul></ul></ul>