Texas Tech University

Instructional Design Tips

Designing Effective Online Discussions

by Veronica Sanchez

Online discussion can be daunting for the novice and experienced online professor. Debbie Morrison from Online Learning Insights  has over thirteen years of experience and has been featured in several articles and well known websites (i.e. Online Learning Consortium, EDUCAUSE) and several institutions have used her posts as resources for their faculty. She authored How to Get Students to Participate in Online Discussions, an excellent resource with great forethought on effectively designing and incorporating online discussion in online courses. Highlighted in this post are 5 key components to consider:

  1. Course Design Strategy
  2. Student Guidelines and Expectations
  3. Good and Right Discussion Questions
  4. Facilitator/Moderator
  5. Assessment

Perhaps you already have discussions but need that extra something for your students to participate robustly? Morrison can also help! She has developed the following resource of remedies using data from end-of-course anonymous surveys, student interviews, and anecdotal feedback from online instructors in her network: 10 Reasons Students Don't Participate in Online Discussions: How to Remedy Each (Google Doc).

If you would like assistance integrating some of these discussion ideas into your online course, contact the Instructional Design Team at 742-7277 or elearning.id@ttu.edu.