Online Learning Update

September 27, 2011

Practical Ideas for Improving Student Participation in Online Learning

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

By: Maryellen Weimer, Teaching Professor Blog

I’d like to change: The number of students who just agree with what someone else posted in an online discussion. This is part of the larger problem that relates to the overall quality of classroom participation.

•Recognize that students are often afraid to disagree with each other. Address those fears with guidelines and examples illustrating constructive ways to disagree.

•Recognize that some students agree because it’s the easy thing to do, especially if they haven’t really engaged with the text. Use strategies, possibly even assignments, that get them prepared to participate in a discussion.

•Disagree, not necessarily with students, but with the theories and ideas of others in the field. Do so respectfully and constructively thereby modeling how and why disagreement is valuable.

•If some disagreeing comments are posted, call attention to them, pointing out what they contribute to the discussion.

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