By Chris Fulton (CTLE)
At a recent online meet-up “Tech-Enhanced Teaching and Learning Meet-ups: Enhancing In-Class and Online Learning” on 5 August, Prof. Thomas Lok and I guided colleagues through the process of setting up online discussion forums in UMMoodle. As numerous books and blog posts from leading educators and universities have practical advice on how and why to set up discussion forums for teaching, I will start this post by listing a few links and resources, which are listed below.
The points from our meet-up that I would like to reiterate are, first, that online discussion forums provide students with opportunities to learn subject knowledge and social skills. It is however, essential to provide clear instructions, well-designed tasks, and timely feedback to help make learning activities more effective.
Second, to ensure that online discussion forums build community and trust among students, it seems that forming small groups is the best practice. Although some students may prefer to self-select their groups, this practice may not facilitate the development of real teamwork skills or ensure equitable learning gains. Rather, Oakley et al. (2004) advise forming groups based on various qualities of students, which will lead to more effective teams and an increase in learning and teamwork skills. To help instructors form groups, the Team Builder tool in UMMoodle was demonstrated.
The video below provides a demonstration of how to set up a discussion forum in UMMoodle with groups that were created using the Team Builder tool.
A complete video recording of the online meet-up on 5 August is here.
Resources and links:
- Plan and Facilitate Effective Discussions (Acue.org)
- Turning Student Groups into Effective Teams Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004).
- Create Moodle Groups and Groupings using Team Builder (UNSW)
- There are five forum types to choose (Moodle.org)
- Interacting Asynchronously (Vanderbilt)
- Discussion Boards (Vanderbilt)
- ICTO FAQs on UMMoodle
If you have questions, or need help please contact Chris Fulton at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 4574.
Colleagues are invited to register for upcoming online meet-ups. More information is available at ctle.um.edu.mo/events.