eModeration Workshop

Thursday, August 21st, 2003
1.45 - 4.15 pm

Starting Discussions

  1. just open the topic area?
  2. provide welcome message?
  3. start the discussion (with a posting)?
  4. provide lead in statements?
  5. use attachments (graphics)?
  6. get students to initiate new discussions


  1. go to Starting Discussions (Conglomerscope) forum
  2. post an introductory message on a topic of your choice
  3. respond to at least one message and comment on its effectiveness as an opener


  1. go to Lead-In Statements forum
  2. post a response to two of the lead-in statements you see there
  3. start a new thread and comment on these method of starting discussions

Summarising Discussions

  1. why do you need to do this?
  2. how do you do it?
    • read all posts (via the compile tool)
    • pick out main threads
    • synthesise, analyse, clarify, redirect (higher order, critical thinking skills)
    • do you name (credit) contributors?
    • no need to refer to every message?
    • write summary and post it
    • Note: LABEL IT as a summary (use capitals, or colour eg <font color = red>)

Other Issues

  • group discussions
    • how do you 'make' them happen?
    • do group participation skills have to be taught?

Resource: http://bokcenter.fas.harvard.edu/docs/wigintro.html


  • is the nature of forums suitable for decision making? (see Smith and Stacey, Deakin University)
  • use in conjunction with chat or f2f meetings
  • do you formally close the discussion or leave them open?
  • use of anonymous postings
  • This strategy can allow freer expression on more confidential topics (eg course evaluations, sex education) but facilitator cannot tell identity of the person posting

  • should they be assessed?


Example 1:

In my courses that use an electronic bulletin board (within WebCT), I use the following formula for awarding points:

0-5 points for any posting(s) on a specific topic;
5-10 points for grounding the post in course content.

Then, later on in the semester, I add an extra 0-5 points for anyone who critiques another posting using course content to do so. In my last graduate class of 27 students spread out over three states, I had over 400 postings in the semester. The quality of postings was very high and the interaction among the students was great.

Example 2:

The R9 Process:

(DR = definitive response)

from *Ripley, D.E, Using Technology to Improve the Quality of Classroom Instruction, International Conference on Computers and Education Proceedings, Auckland, 2002)

* University of Canterbury, NZ