Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Online Conversations

Recently our university was put on an extended break. This gives the professors time to put their courses completely online.

In other conversations on Facebook, many students and teachers are concerned about their online courses. Teachers want to make sure that the students get the information they need, and students want to know that the lessons will be meaningful. Someone was concerned that they wouldn’t have meaningful conversations online like they would during a classroom discussion.

I like having students write something and have students respond to two or three others but I think it is important to give directions for the conversations, so they are meaningful.

When I ask students to read or watch something for the lesson, I ask them to write about what they learned. I ask them to tell me if they agree or disagree with what they learned and why.

Then I ask others to comment on at least two or three other posts, I ask them to tell what they agree or disagree with the post and why.

Hopefully, this will lead to a deeper conversation where others may ask someone else a question for clarification or even begin debating.

This involves critical thinking and discussion. I would conduct the same kind of conversation in the classroom so I believe it would work in an online discussion also.

I also like to have a place for students to post a question or something that they didn’t understand. I would then invite everyone to contribute their answer or explanation.  Again, this can open it up for others to jump into the conversation. There are websites like Padlet where people can post their questions anonymously and others can answer anonymously. This may be a good place for those that are shy or afraid to ask questions.

What other strategies would be good to use in order to have meaningful online conversations? Please share.

Photo by Paper Textures on Unsplash

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