Teacher Tap

Clown at computerCourse Discussion: Purpose

It might be fun for students to dress up like clowns while they work, but will it help students address the course goals?

Before designing discussion assignments, ask yourself: What's the purpose of the discussion activity?

Forum assignments provide an environment where information and ideas can be shared and discussed. Start by examining your course goals and objectives.

Will a discussion help students:

Identify the goal of the experience:

exampleExplore Examples
Examine book discussion programs that could be adapted as online programs. How could you promote high level thinking in these discussions?
Book Discussion Groups from the American Library Association (ALA)
One Book reading promotion projects from the Library of Congress
Book Clubs from KidsRead
Book Discussion Series from ALA
Book Group Buzz from Booklist (ALA)
Books on the Brain
Center for the Book from Library of Congress


Connect Discussions to Course Content

As you begin designing assignments, think about ways to associate discussions with course materials.

Students could be asked to

Forums provide an environment for sharing and discussing information and ideas. Identify the purpose and goal of each discussion activity. Be sure to connect the discussion directly to course content.

apply itApply It!
Select a learning objective that could be addressed through the use of an online discussion.

Identify specific course content associated with with this objective.

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