Trying to provide learning opportunities for your online students?

Discussion activities are one of many great ways to promote critical thinking among online students in an asynchronous format, but only if the discussion topic and talking points are planned accordingly. Consider these tips to help students learn by engaging with you and each other:

1. Provide open-ended questions that incorporate one or several human dimension components. Allow students to relate to one another and their real-world experiences.

2. Give your students the opportunity to debate by leading a discussion with 'there's no wrong answer' questions. 

3. Facilitate the discussion by using "nurturing questions" to probe deeper thinking among your learners. Take what they've stated and respond with inquiry that “forces” critical thinking. 

4. Break your student cohort up into smaller groups. Neither you nor your students want to spend more time scrolling than reading. Frustration and loss of motivation will surely prevail!

5. Assign leading roles to students within small groups and rotate those roles to include all students. Accountability will increase student focus, potentially adding value to the discussion topic.

Here’s a great resource on discussion facilitation:


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Created by Alexandra M. Pickett Aug 19, 2010 at 11:52am. Last updated by Alexandra M. Pickett May 20, 2020.

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