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Teaching Content and Developing Engagement Through Online Discussions (Online)

22 February 2023 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST


22 February 2023
11:00 am - 1:00 pm EST
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Discussion forums are a frequent feature in both online and in-person courses. They provide an excellent setting for active learning that is both collaborative and individual, yet their execution often falls short of truly promoting student to student interaction or student engagement with course content and can become a seemingly needless burden on TAs and course instructors. These pitfalls can be mitigated by implementing a few strategies that make discussion forums powerful tools for promoting social presence, teacher presence, and cognitive presence in the online classroom as well as in-person classroom settings.

This workshop will consist of four parts:

  1. An introduction to the role of discussion forums in learning along with their potential pitfalls (this will draw on the Community of Inquiry framework),
  2. An overview of the U of T’s EdTech for online discussions and some important features that help to promote engagement (Quercus Discussion Boards,  PeppeR, etc),
  3. A discussion about setting community standards/agreements and developing a discussion rubric,
  4. Some tips and guidelines for creating effective and engaging discussion online.  Incorporating active learning activities, this workshop will invite participants to discuss community guidelines that could be implemented in a discussion forum and critique and improve upon discussion strategies in a series of scenarios. 
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