(By Katie Lepi)

Facilitating discussions between students is one of those things that is infinitely easier when you’re teaching in a physical classroom rather than online. When the students are all in one room, discussions happen more naturally. Facilitating the same type of productive, useful discussion when teaching online is more of a challenge.

The handy infographic below from Mia MacMeekin takes a look at some tips and best practices for facilitating discussions when you’re teaching online.  If you teach online and have any favourite tips and tricks, leave us a message in the comments!

15 Tips For Facilitating Online Discussion

  • Start reading posts early
  • Give constructive feedback, public and private
  • Identify writing issues early
  • Participate frequently
  • Follow the rubric
  • Stimulate conversation
  • Make it real
  • Empower the students to share
  • Keep it alive
  • Praise well written arguments
  • Never criticize publicly
  • Never wait too long to stimulate discussion
  • Never take one side
  • Never discount someone’s experience
  • Never let inaccurate information go unnoticed

10 Prompts to Stimulate Conversation

  • Can you clarify?
  • Do you need anything else to answer this?
  • Do you think?
  • Do you agree with?
  • So are you saying?
  • Have you seen?
  • So on the news, I noticed something similar
  • What do your friends think?
  • Is there someone else you can ask?
  • Where did you hear that?
  • Do you have a reference for that?

Read more