Creating Effective Discussion Forums
A discussion is only as good as the prompt that begins it.
- A good prompt promotes the sharing of ideas.
- The prompt does not solicit a single right answer or correct response.
- A comprehensive answer or response is unlikely to be arrived at by any student individually, using information and concepts already know. Rather, a comprehensive answer or response arises collaboratively and cumulatively as the discussion progresses.
- A good prompt can be adequately addressed in the allotted time.
- A good prompt uses concrete, specific examples and case studies, when appropriate.
- A good prompt communicates expectations, often through a rubric. Such expectations may include mechanical and logistical expectations (for instance, the length and quantity of posts) but often focus on editorial expectations:
- responsiveness to the prompt
- quality of writing or level of discourse
- use of secondary sources
- addressing or incorporating posts made by others
- A good prompt provides detailed, specific instructions for participating in the discussion, including deadlines.