Discussion boards (DB), once the only tool available for creating community in online courses, are now one of many tools used to communicate, collaborate, and engage online. Problems plaguing DB include poor discussion topic selection by instructors, the laborious nature of following discussion posts in large classes, the lack of voice and media to capture individual expression, and the “one-size-fits-all” over-use of this modality. The time has come to re-think and re-invigorate online discussions. This platform presents best practices for using DB, shares creative DB activities, and highlights alternative tools to foster a community of inquiry.
The presenters conducted a review of the literature on DB and other web-based instructional strategies such as Blogs, Wiki’s, Voice Blogs, videos, and Podcasts. These findings were combined with15 years of online experiences to develop a DB best-practice approach. A review of alternate strategies is provided with concrete examples on how to integrate these strategies into online, blended, and web-enhanced classes.
Participants will be able to identify and apply 5 best practice strategies into their discussion boards: 1) Formulate engaging triggers, 2) Create small DB groups, 3) Incorporate pictures/video/voice, 4) Participate and role model collegial discussion, 5) Grade holistically. Participants will also be able to articulate the advantages, disadvantages, and examples of alternative discussion strategies such as Voicethread, blogs, videoblogs, wikis, and web-based meetings such as Google Hangout.
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Shaping the Future of Physical Therapy Education
Contemporary web-based technology gives educators a myriad of visual and auditory tools to enhance student engagement. Since students live in a world with ever changing media and messages, PT educators of the future will need to embed rich media into online discussions to sustain student interest and active learning.
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