Promoting Student Interaction
These are a great way to get students discussing a topic in writing. They work best for open-ended discussions rather than for content delivery. They can be set up to limit access to other students’ replies until after they have posted their own response. Professors can encourage discourse by having students post a response to a prompt, and then requiring them to respond to their classmates’ posts with meaningful responses. Such responses should go beyond mere statements that agree with the comment they are replying to and encourage further discussion. A sample rubric for assessing these replies can be found here.
Instructor guides for creating and managing discussion boards in Blackboard: Discussions
Google Classroom: The Google Classroom “Short Answer Question” option can serve as a discussion board for instructors using Google Classroom. It links directly to the Classroom gradebook and allows you to grade it using a rubric. One difference between this option and the Blackboard option is that the Google Classroom Question Discussion Board only allows one level of nested replies. For discussions that require more complex back and forth, it can be difficult to manage. Posting an “Announcement” in the Google Classroom stream also allows students to engage with you, however it does not prevent students from seeing others replies before submitting their own, nor will it be linked to the gradebook.
You can also unleash your students on the collaborative spaces available through Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Sheets, which permit some of the most sophisticated real-time collaboration tools we have seen. They can be used as stand-alone tools, within Google Classroom, or via a link in your Blackboard course.
Discussion Board Principles & Strategies Adapted from The Professor’s Manual by Victoria Nesnick, Ed.D.
WordPress/Qwriting: If you use a WordPress blog for your course, on Qwriting or elsewhere, asynchronous discussion is built into the interplay between posting and commenting. Using a blog is a great way to get students to interact around a topic related to your course.