• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Efficient Discussion Management

Page history last edited by Anne McKinney 14 years, 11 months ago


See bottom of page for photo information. 

How should online instructors interact with students?

Every instructor will find his or her own way to communicate with students. Time management is just as important an issue as communication: how do we balance the need for students to receive individual attention without spending every conscious hour responding to students' posts and furthering discussion?


If you personally have the time and motivation to respond to every students' post in the forums, that can be great for them - or it could also discourage students from reading all the messages. If there are over 100 messages in a forum, you're likely to lose the students who are overwhelmed by the sheer number of posts, and only read the minimal number of messages necessary to complete their assignment. If you're answering important questions with information you think the whole class should know, the students who don't read all the messages are going to miss it. (Of course, you can't please all your students all the time - not everyone wants or needs the same volume of individual attention!)


So, what are some options for managing the volume of messages and making sure the important information is communicated, while maintaining your sanity as an instructor? The following is not an exhaustive list, but a few possibilities:


  • Instead of responding to every post in discussion, post a summary of the discussion mentioning each student's contribution and highlighting important issues they need to remember.


  • Each week/module, assign a different student to write a summary of the week's discussion. That way, no student has to read every single message every week, but just for one week - and that summary can be used as part of their participation grade for the course.


  • Discussion groups: if you have a large class size, split students into smaller groups for discussions. Groups can summarize their own discussions to the whole class to share everyone's ideas.


  • To give students enough time to respond to others' messages, create separate deadlines for initial messages and replies. That way, no student has to wait for the procrastinators to post before he/she can respond to them.


Photo on this page: Creative Commons licensed photo via Flickr, calling by chandrika221





Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.