Meaningful Peer Interaction

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Kawasaki, Guy (from Kalihi) “Education: Importance of Peers.” Academic Earth. 14 Nov 2008. Web. 2 Feb 2009.

Prepare Discussion Posts that Invite Questions, Discussions, Reflections and Responses

  • Create open-ended questions that learners can explore and apply the concepts that they are learning
  • Model good Socratic-type probing and follow-up questions. Why do you think that? What is your reasoning? Is there an alternative strategy?
  • Ask clarifying questions that encourage students to think about what they know and don’t know.
  • Stagger due dates of the responses and consider mid-point summary and /or encouraging comments
  • Provide guidelines and instruction on responding to other students. For example, suggest a two-part response: (1) what you liked or agreed with or what resonated with you, and (2) a follow-up question such as what you are wondering about or curious about, etc.
  • Provide choices and options for students. Providing choices for students in questioning follows the principle of providing options for personalized and customized learning for students and a way of validating and affirming knowledge and skills.
  • Don’t post questions soliciting basic facts, or questions for which there is an obvious yes/no response.” The reason for this is obvious. Once one student responds, there is not much more to say! Very specific fact-based questions that you want to be sure that you students know are best used in practice quizzes.
  • Reminder: Log in to your course at least 4 times a week — answer email, monitor discussions, post reminders, and hold online office hours
  • Teaching Online

Guidelines for creating effective asynchronous discussions, based on substantial experience with faculty members teaching online. 

  • Learners should be required to participate (and their grade should depend on participation).
  • Discussion groups should remain small.
  • Discussions should be focused on a task.
  • Tasks should always result in a product.
  • Learners should receive feedback on their discussions.
  • Evaluation should be based on the quality of postings (and not the length or number).
  • Instructors should post expectations for discussions.
  • Best Practices for Administrative Evaluation of Online Faculty
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