CAT+FD: Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development

Xavier > CAT+FD > Tutorials > E-Moderating

Developing and Managing On-line Discussions

An on-line workshop designed to give Xavier faculty tips and practice in moderating electronic discussions.

  • Recommended Readings
    Begin by perusing the readings for background information on the subject of online discussions.

  • Powerpoint Presentation
    This presentation summarizes some of the ideas that were presented to faculty during a face to face discussion on the subject of electronic communication. Faculty who are familiar with the tools describe some of theirs views on the advantages and pitfalls to online learning via electronic discussions. There is a Web friendly version which can be viewd in most modern Web browsers. The original Powerpoint presentation is also available [144 Kb, requires Microsoft Powerpoint]

  • Synchronous Discussion
    Read an archived transcript of the initial discussion that followed the presentation to faculty. The log of student chat #1 demonstrates the fun that students can have as they wait for other students and the professor to login. In the log of student chat #2, where the names of students were protected to protect their privacy, several interesting occurrences are noteworthy. In getting acclimated to the environment:
    • Students wanted to know the physical location of other students.
    • Both the teacher and student seem to have fun with the technology.
    • Many students have difficulty sustaining the online connection and became frustrated with the technical problems that seem to be beyond their control.

    Even though this chat occurred early in the semester and apparently had only a superficial pedagogical agenda, the following could be observed about this first attempt by a faculty member to use this as a pedagogical tool.
    • The teacher seems to remain the locus of the discussion throughout the time she was online.
    • The students and teacher manage to address the topic of discussion, despite the choppy flow and frequent interruptions in the conversation.
    • Savvy students use and teach others "text messaging".
    • Despite the professor logging off, students continue to "take care of business."

  • Asynchronous Discussion
    For an asynchronous discussion, we used Blackboard due to its ease of access for Xavier faculty. See the index and individual message view and full transcript of bulletin board discussion held in Blackboard. Discussion boards, newsgroups, and other environments for asynchronous discussion offer various views for the user. See which interface is more likely to produce better results for you and your students. You can join the discussion board, by logging in to Blackboard as a guest and clicking on the Discussion Board. Feel free to add a new forum to extend the discussion.

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