Students enrolled in the professional online master’s degree programs I teach have informed me on several occasions that participating in the online discussion board with their classmates is essential to their education. Over the years, students’ attitudes and actions have sake or broken their experience. Of course, having well-designed tasks and an instructor who knows how to animate discussions are essential factors. Still, I’ve also noticed that students themselves can make or break the experience. Your level of comprehension may significantly improve if you carefully consider how you engaged in conversation with your classmates on the online discussion board. The following is a perspective in which you might enhance your engagement with your classmates on the discussions board.
Make your Expectations Very Clear
Compared to talks in person, those that take place online may easily be held to a higher standard. However, not all students participate in a face-to-face seminar in the same capacity. In the classes I teach, I want students to submit not just two answers to the first questions but also two extra responses to their fellow students at the end of each week.
However, it would be best to be careful about what you desire. It is essential to remember that you will be required to read everything that your students write; hence, if you have fifteen students and demand two posts and two responses from each student. You will get a minimum of sixty posts by the end of the week. In my experience, graduate students regularly publish more than the minimum needed times. And I typically finish the week with between eighty and ninety posts. For this reason, it is essential to make it appear that every article needs to have significance.
Adjust Yourself to the Online Message Board
The first discussions task for each class has been designed with a relatively modest degree of difficulty. The students are obliged to provide an introduction to themselves and are strongly urged, but not mandated, also to add a few images. The next step for the students is reading two or three of their peers’ introductions and responding to those introductions. Because of this, they can become acquainted with one another and their professors and become acclimated to the online discussion board.
Students, particularly those who have never taken an online course or have never used the learning management system (LMS) that you are utilizing, will require some instruction and practice before they can become comfortable using the discussion board. My experience working with three distinct kinds of online learning management systems has shown me that their online discussion forums are rarely easy to understand. Be careful to include directions on how to submit posts and answers, especially if yours is particularly cumbersome, especially if it is. You could believe that your pupils have a good understanding of technology. Still, in reality, very few of them might have any prior exposure to this asynchronous and semiformal way of communication.
Defining your Purpose is Essential.
Academic debates that take place online have far less of a history of adhering to established norms than those that take place in person. Students may come into their online class with certain preconceptions. It is crucial to explain how you view your position in online dialogues. Depending on your pedagogical values and the teaching style you utilize. I let my students know that I read everything they post and respond when I believe that I can make a significant contribution by providing helpful information, answering a direct question, or clarifying a misunderstanding. I also let them know that I respond when I think I can contribute significantly by providing useful information. After each week, I make it a point to respond to any “orphan” posts that have been left unanswered.
Keep in mind that your contributions will largely determine the debate’s tone. It is not uncommon for me to cut and paste a portion of the post to which I am responding. And students soon begin doing the same thing. When I refer to the readings, I give a complete quote along with the page number where it may be found; but I do not demand a certain format for the citation.
Make a list of Questions that are Important to you.
It may be evident, but I didn’t see it that way at first. I used to pose what I believed to be significant inquiries. But I always dreaded the moment when I had to read the responses. Now, I only ask inquiries about topics I have a genuine interest in talking more about. My questions are always open-ended, such as “can someone Take My Online Exam For Me? Is online discussion critical? Are online discussion tips any beneficial? Etc. Such questions prompt students to react to an aspect of the readings that caught their attention. All of my questions are of an open-ended nature.
Keeping a Close Eye on Participation
To keep track of my involvement and that of my students, I use a basic spreadsheet on Google. I ensure the necessary initial responses are uploaded before the first deadline. You may get this information in the portion of the course devoted to student analytics that certain LMSs give you. In addition, I maintain a log of the individuals to whom I have answered. And at the end of the week, I make it a point to provide each student with at least one relevant response. If you don’t keep track of your posts. You can respond to the same student four times while ignoring five other people altogether. This might lead to feelings of hate or insecurity. And an online class provides minimal opportunity to clear up any misconceptions that may arise.
Learn to Recognize when it is Appropriate to Stop Posting
The facilitation and management of online conversations of any type can be a time-consuming task. Yet, it is essential to the success of a distance learning program. Early on, I became aware that participating in the online conversation did not give me the same feeling of fulfillment that attending classes held on a traditional college campus did. These lessons started and ended at predetermined hours; when the bell sounds, you know you are through for the day. However, online courses are always available for enrollment. I didn’t feel comfortable signing out of my LMS at the end of the week until I devised a method to organize the online discussions I participated in and started keeping tabs on my contributions to the various threads.