Effective Discussion Participation
Opportunities to Build Class Community
Discussion boards are a required component of National University courses that are online or offered in a hybrid/blended format. These activities provide opportunities for asynchronous engagement for students and instructors and can build a class community where each student can develop their own critical thinking and writing skills. Research conducted by Hosler and Arend (2012) found that faculty who take an active facilitator role in discussions kept students focused and engaged in the course in a meaningful way. In addition, detailed instructor feedback on participation increase student’s perception of the quality of a discussion (Christopher et al., 2010; Dallimore et al., 2010; Shea et al., 2003).
Instructor Role in the Discussion Board
Faculty should actively monitor discussion boards in order to enhance their learning community and moderate any potential conflicts or missteps. You may want to create a schedule for yourself for days of the week when you will participate in the discussion and, if you want to be notified when there is activity, consider subscribing to your course discussion boards.
For each discussion board activity, it is recommended that faculty interact multiple times each week with students. Try to incorporate one or more of the suggestions provided in the Best Practices for Effective Discussion Participation in your interactions, as appropriate.