…for Online Interaction

This page features a collection of carefully selected resources specific to fostering interaction and building a community of learning—targeted to educators seeking skill development for creating meaningful online discussions and interaction. 

I. Fostering Asynchronous Student Discussions

Videos1.  This six-minute video, Conducting effective online discussions from the COFA series Learning to Teaching Online, provides educators with skill development and strategies for managing and facilitating effective online discussions and how to engage students in the process. I can’t say enough about this series from COFA—skill development in a concise format, honed to specific topics, that can be accessed easily by educators for their own skill development when needed.

Website Link2. This web article from the Pockets of Innovation section from Ontario Online Learning Portal shares how a professor encourages and ensures that students participate in asynchronous discussions.  Not only does he use a rubric, and weight participation heavily, he emails students that are absent from the discussion boards, Supporting and assessing online communications with Faculty of Education graduate students at Nipissing University.

3. Asynchronous discussions that are incorporated into curriculum for onlpdfine courses can build student engagement and support higher levels of achievement and learning. However in order that forum discussions are successful and not viewed as busy work by students, discussions must be thoughtfully planned before the course begins, and need to be facilitated and monitored once the course is underway. This peer-reviewed article provides the foundational knowledge that educators require to construct the conditions, parameters, and student guidelines for successful and meaningful synchronous discussions:  Essential Elements in Designing Online Discussions to Promote Cognitive Presence — A Practical Experience.

pdfII. Ten Reasons Why Students Don’t participate in Online Discussion and What to Do About it

I wrote a post about and developing a resource available for download that features the top ten reasons for student non-participation and suggestions for remedying each. We developed several methods to overcome this challenge when I worked as lead curriculum developer for online education at a small university, and many proved effective. I’ve shared these in the following resource. I selected the ten most common reasons by using data from end-of-course anonymous surveys, student interviews, anecdotal feedback from online instructors in my network, and personal experience.  Click here to view the resource available on Google Docs.

12 thoughts on “…for Online Interaction

  1. Hi Debbie,

    I was looking for online classes in management. Can you recommend any? Have you heard of Open School of Management or heard of any students and their experiences there? Also, are there any other schools you would recommend for online classes in management?

    Thanks a lot in advance for your kind response.



    1. If you are in an online course, see if there is a Facebook group or Google+ page that is just for students of the course. If not consider creating a one. Reaching out to other students is a great way to start making connections. 🙂


  2. Words are not sufficient to thank you for spending your valuable time for the benefits of students. The interaction with the students was really appreciated, thank you once again.


  3. Thank you for these nice resources. I liked the video where teachers who are active in the field give real advices about online discussion. It’s better than reading a book telling you about the netiquette and it should be done about it.


  4. Thanks for the resource. Number 4 is interesting, because I´ve actually seen it quite often where students don´t get along online and start arguing. It seems that online discussions are easy to anger people in because partly because of a lack of paralinguistic features such as facial expressions, gestures, sentence stress, tone, etc. make it hard to know the mood people are in while writing. Apart from your suggestions, I´m wondering if adding a complaint form on the VLE helps. This is something I’m trying to incorporate on Flyteach.com (plug, sorry this is my site) because oftentimes we don´t even realize that learners have been offended, and -as you mention in your download- they stop logging in without us knowing why. I think that by adding a complaint form, learners who feel victimized (which I´ve actually encountered among colleagues) would help even in the sense that it would discourage impolite interactions. Also, thanks for the COFA series link, I liked it!


    1. Hi Sebastian,
      Glad you found something helpful! I too think COFA has excellent, helpful resources for online instructors.

      Having a forum for students to post suggestions, complaints etc. is a good one, however I suggest calling it a ‘suggestions and comments’ forum rather than complaint forum. By labeling it complaint, you are encouraging students to find complaints, and open it up for only negative comments. However ‘suggestions and comments’ will achieve the same goal you are looking for, but also encourage ideas and suggestions to make your course better.

      Thanks for commenting and reading. Debbie

      Liked by 2 people

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