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)?


  1. go to Starting Discussions 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

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?
  • 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?



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.


Using Online Forums (slides)
Successful Online Discussions
(page last updated 1/1/08)