Activities using Discussion Forums

  • Consider how a face-to-face group discussion might differ from an online one with these notes.¬†Create challenging, engaging discussion questions, debates and activities using a critical thinking framework
  • Assess online discussions using the recommendations and rubrics suggested in these notes
  • Tools for discussion forums include Blackboard and Voicethread
  • Suggested learning activities that are mapped to the Best Practice Principles are below.

Active Induction

Guided Exploration

Facilitated Investigation

Self-organised Learner

Participation in informal forums for peer socialisation and induction Participation in informal forums for peer sharing and support Students use group forum to organise group work/ projects Students set up own forums, to plan and support group work/ projects
 Participation in forum set up by tutor Student selects topic/ approach for discussion. Students moderate discussion and provide summary Students invite/ interviews externals
Students review guidelines for effective learning in discussions Participation in discussion of process of learning through discussion Students explore issues in learning in online discussions Peers discuss and reflect on process of learning through discussion
Students review assessment criteria/ rubric for online discussions Tutor comments on content and process and offers feedback against assessment criteria/ rubric Students comment and offer feedback to peers against assessment criteria/ rubric Tutor provides summative assessment against assessment criteria/ rubric
(Delphi) Each student poses question (Delphi) Each student responds to another student’s question (Delphi) Each student comments on another student’s response (Delphi) Students review and reflect on questions, responses and comments
(Debate) Students read stimulus material and post individual statement (Debate) Students work in groups to agree and post a supporting or opposing argument (Debate) Students post responses to arguments (Debate) Students vote and review conclusions
(Role-play) Students read stimulus materials for situation/ problem (Role-play) Students assigned roles and review context and problem (Role-play) Students, in role, post responses to situation/ problem (Role-play) Students contribute final conclusion and reflect
(Muddiest point) Students read material and add question/ comment on their ‘muddiest point’ (Muddiest point) Students read material and other students’ questions and contribute comments
(BOLD) Students post individual question/ reflection or critique on reading (BOLD) Student teams work together to produce team items (e.g., unresolved, re-written individual items) (BOLD) Teams offers peer critique and tutor offers comment/ feedback (BOLD): Participation in extended discussion with summary

Other Models for Online Discussion Activities:

Case studies