AOI | Learning Innovations
Weekly Tip: Engaging Discussions
Engaging thoughtful and extended discussion in any setting can be difficult at times. However, making room for the discussion of concepts presented in a course can help students make stronger connections between what they are learning and how they can apply their knowledge in authentic contexts. Further, discussions serve as an opportunity for identifying misconceptions and facilitate peer instruction.
Below are simple strategies that can be implemented in any course delivery type (face-to-face, online, video conference, etc.).
- Prompts should be relevant to the topic or concepts currently being covered in the course.
- Focus on how a concept presented in the course is being applied or demonstrated through a current event.
Variety & Application
- Provide more than one option within the same prompt for students to analyze or apply principles to. For instance, ask students to analyze a TED talk or case study that discuss the same topic.
- Options should be related and encourage students to provide feedback and identify intersections.
- Prompt students to find examples of the topic being demonstrated in an authentic and everyday context and explain what’s happening and why. Discussion then, is focused on what students contribute.
Quality & Thoughtfulness
- Present open-ended questions that encourage students to think critically about the topic and provide meaningful responses.
- When it comes to encouraging thoughtful responses, try the 3C & Q method highlighted in this Inside HigherEd article.
- Set clear expectations by providing a rubric so, students know how their posts and responses will be assessed.
Learn more about using rubrics for grading.
Providing ample opportunities for discussion, whether in class or online, is a great way to encourage ongoing learning and engagement. For support implementing discussions in your course, contact the Learning Innovations team.
This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact email@example.com or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.