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Say What?!? Ensuring Everyone has a Voice during Online Course Discussions

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Whether your issue is engaging quieter students, or limiting verbose, overbearing students, the bottom line is the same -- a discussion is not a discussion unless everyone contributes, or has the opportunity to contribute. Striving for balanced voices is an important instructional goal in online course discussions. Discussion protocols are one way to ensure that there is time and space for everyone to contribute to a discussion. Discussion protocols provide prescriptive guidelines for structuring, facilitating, and engaging in group-based discussions, empowering all participants to have a voice and speak their minds. During this presentation, we will share foundational guidelines for online course discussions, and explore several discussion protocols for creating online discussions in which students have equitable, respectful, and meaningful opportunities to contribute and learn via their participation

Published in: Education

Say What?!? Ensuring Everyone has a Voice during Online Course Discussions

  1. 1. Say What?!? Ensuring Everyone has a Voice during Online Course Discussions Joni Dunlap & Patrick Lowenthal, UCD COLTT 2009
  2. 3. Say What?!? <ul><li>How can I keep learners engaged from start to finish? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I get learners to “talk”? </li></ul><ul><li>How can I avoid it all being tedious? </li></ul><ul><li>How can I avoid discussions being seen as busywork? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I track learners’ discussions? </li></ul>
  3. 4. Three-Pronged Approach
  4. 5. <ul><li>Preparing for sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Getting our collective feet wet </li></ul><ul><li>Off without a hitch </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing voices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a wrap! </li></ul>Steps
  5. 6. <ul><li>I lived in Saudi Arabia as a youth </li></ul><ul><li>My first car was a white 1966 Barracuda with red leather interior </li></ul><ul><li>I have been a vegetarian for 25+ years </li></ul><ul><li>I was a member of the road crew for the Grateful Dead from 1989-1991 </li></ul><ul><li>I used to produce and direct on-air pledge drives for public television </li></ul><ul><li>I was held up at gun point and had my car stolen as the get-away vehicle </li></ul>
  6. 8. Soundtrack of Your Life
  7. 9. Virtual Paper Bag
  8. 10. <ul><li>Preparing for sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Getting our collective feet wet </li></ul><ul><li>Off without a hitch </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing voices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a wrap! </li></ul>Steps
  9. 11. <ul><li>Three reasons why the author is dead wrong </li></ul><ul><li>All we need to know about teaching we can learn from skateboarders </li></ul><ul><li>Technology replaces teachers (or, Teachers throw technology out the window) </li></ul><ul><li>Students just aren’t as dedicated as they used to be </li></ul><ul><li>Social interaction isn’t possible in self-paced online training </li></ul>
  10. 12. Neil Postman once wrote, “Computers are merely ingenious devices to fulfill unimportant functions. The computer revolution is an explosion of nonsense.” Do you agree or disagree with Postman? Neil Postman once wrote, “Computers are merely ingenious devices to fulfill unimportant functions. The computer revolution is an explosion of nonsense.” Why do you think Postman wrote this? What evidence do you believe he would reference to support his perspective? What would you say to change his mind, or at least present an alternative perspective? What is your viewpoint, and why?
  11. 13. <ul><li>Please review these “successful online learner” questionnaires, and respond to the following questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What do they measure? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do the results mean? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are we supposed to do with this information as educators? For example, should we only enroll learners who meet these criteria? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on these questionnaires, are you a good candidate for online education? Why or why not? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>Two of my chief concerns about teaching online have been… </li></ul><ul><li>Keeping students engaged and connected with the course and course activities, and </li></ul><ul><li>How much time it takes to keep students engaged and connected with the course and course activities. </li></ul><ul><li>What is your number one concern about teaching online? What ideas do you have for addressing the concerns shared by me (above) or shared by others in this forum? </li></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>Preparing for sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Getting our collective feet wet </li></ul><ul><li>Off without a hitch </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing voices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a wrap! </li></ul>Steps
  14. 16. Some Basics <ul><li>Group size, deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Assigned roles </li></ul><ul><li>Limit number and length </li></ul><ul><li>Wait to step in </li></ul><ul><li>Allow learners to select topics </li></ul><ul><li>Asking extension questions </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledging contributions </li></ul>
  15. 17. Power of Protocols <ul><li>Prescriptive; roles & responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Time and space </li></ul><ul><li>Equitable, respectful, meaningful </li></ul>
  16. 18. The Final Post <ul><li>Groups of 3-6 </li></ul><ul><li>Each learner posts a quote from the text + 350 words about the quote </li></ul><ul><li>Group members respond with 250 words </li></ul><ul><li>Originator reacts to the responses (250 words) </li></ul>
  17. 19. The Last Post <ul><li>Groups of 3-6 </li></ul><ul><li>Each learner posts a quote from the text without commenting on the quote </li></ul><ul><li>Group members comment with 250 words </li></ul><ul><li>In 250 words, originator’s “last word” incorporates original interest with learning from reading group members’ comments </li></ul>
  18. 20. Designated Readers <ul><li>Each learner takes on the role of the designated reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Designated reader does not contribute (except to ask for clarification of someone else’s posting). </li></ul><ul><li>Designated reader is responsible for summarizing the online discussion. </li></ul>
  19. 21. Rotating Threads <ul><li>Set up discussion forums, with a different provocative issue to discuss in each forum. </li></ul><ul><li>In groups of 4-5, have learners rotate to a new forum. Timing = e.g., Forum A on Monday, Forum B on Tuesday, and so on. </li></ul><ul><li>Each group records their ideas about the issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Once complete, learners revisit forums to see what other groups posted. </li></ul>
  20. 22. Give Learners Responsibilities Other ideas?
  21. 23. <ul><li>Preparing for sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Getting our collective feet wet </li></ul><ul><li>Off without a hitch </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing voices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a wrap! </li></ul>Steps
  22. 24. “ If she wants two posts a week, I’ll give her two posts a week.”
  23. 25. A-Ha Points...
  24. 26. <ul><li>0 points: Though you may have introduced an interesting idea or contributed to the discourse, it is not original enough, or is somehow unclear. </li></ul><ul><li>1 point: You provide a succinct, interesting, original, and well-documented argument or idea, or provide a useful link or pertinent fact. </li></ul><ul><li>2 points: Your contribution is creative and original, and compellingly argues a very clear point. You support your contribution with evidence. </li></ul>
  25. 27. Other Closing Ideas <ul><li>Summarizing </li></ul><ul><li>Reflecting </li></ul>
  26. 28. Summary Scripting
  27. 29. Summary Clouds
  28. 30. <ul><li>Preparing for sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Getting our collective feet wet </li></ul><ul><li>Off without a hitch </li></ul><ul><li>Balancing voices </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a wrap! </li></ul>Steps in the Process
  29. 31. Thank you

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