Importance of Online Discussions for Students and Productive Tips
Do discussion boards enhance student participation in online classes?
Know the importance and benefits
Well-structured online engagements facilitate critical thinking and interaction. Such forums are effective learning tools for teachers too. They encourage students to think independently and develop an ideal mindset.
Siddhartha Public School, Hyderabad encourages its students to participate in vigorous online conversations as part of their new curriculum. We present some online discussion tips for students which could help them to develop critical thinking.
Asking questions is important
With the help of e-learning students are able to increase their knowledge manifold. Interactions allow them to retain information in memory, have healthy arguments and debates. When questions and counter-questions are allowed, the interaction is more meaningful and productive.
The following online discussion tips for students are already successful and can be implemented regularly:
- Understanding guidelines of the forum before participating.
- Noting down topics of discussions chronologically.
- Find out if the discussion board is linked to any evaluation process for better preparation and engagement.
- Check links to understand when the discussions are taking place.
- Follow the discussion’s objective and be aware of what to say during the session.
- Ask topic focused questions during the time frame.
- Participate in any controversial discussion if an opportunity arises.
- Time management is a valuable skill for an online student.
Effectively, a learner can do this by planning in advance, removing distractions, and balancing online and offline activities. As classes are now conducted from home, even parents can help in the discussion topics in advance.
Discussions Demand Following Etiquettes
An experienced teacher sets out guidelines for a productive engagement or discussions for students by the following methods.
- Read out and explain the house rules about the session for example not interrupting the speaker by talking in-between.
- Set out the objective of discussion so each one is aware and can participate.
- Topic of debate should be announced in advance for allowing time for research to make the discussion fruitful.
- Size of the group should be kept small for quality discussion.
- Make the student take the ownership of the session by defining roles of each one.
- Facilitate meaningful discussion on the topic assigned.
Written responses allow a student time to analyze and reflect on the information available before responding, which is not the case in class discussion. This leads to effective learning. Online discussions do not allow anyone to dominate and even give a chance to an introverted student to participate. Two important aspects of online conversation – students cannot hide whether they take part or not and provides a record of the thoughts of students for the teacher to evaluate them. Some of the tips for productive online discussions – discussions question should require minimum involvement of the teacher, students should be encouraged to pick sides, ensure that all posts are labeled by respondents, take risk of going off topic of main discussion, and create a rubric to judge if the student supports his statement with evidence and develop on other’s idea.
One of the important benefits of online discussions proves participants fare better in course exams. The learning is more effective as students can think independently and make decisions.