If you teach an online course, or if your course has an online component or LMS, you probably make extensive use of the discussion board. Online discussions can be a great way for students to connect, collaborate, and share their ideas with their fellow students.

Unfortunately, student discussions often become monologues, rather than the lively conversations that you’d hope for them to be.

Want to gather some fresh ideas for sparking energizing online discussions? Then watch “Reenergizing Online Discussions.” This presentation, recorded during our recent “Wired and Inspired!: The Intelligent Use of Technology in Higher Education” online workshop, offers specific guidelines for creating online discussions that require cogent textual analysis and critical thinking. The ideas shared here will also encourage students to have more substantive interactions with their peers.

Presenter Bonnie Tensen, Professor of English at Augsburg College, shares lessons learned from her extensive experience in leading online discussions in her courses. She covers such topics as:

  • The benefits of online discussions
  • How to use small groups to foster effective online discussions
  • Tips for using your posting deadlines to promote participation
  • Distinctive prompts that spark student engagement and critical thinking
  • How to communicate your expectations clearly and effectively
  • Ways to provide substantive feedback in a sustainable manner

Watch the presentation: Reenergizing Online Discussions


Find more helpful tips for using edtech in the college classroom

For more great tips on edtech in the college classroom, listen to the “Who Moved My Chalkboard: Adventures in Using EdTech to Your Advantage” podcast series, and watch “Chalk and Talk the Edtech Walk,” a panel discussion! And stay tuned for news about our next “Wired and Inspired” event, taking place in February 2016.

We also invite you to download this list of additional readings on the topic of edtech in the college classroom.

Do you teach an online course? Join the conversation! Share your own online course ideas or experiences in the comments section below.

How do you use your course’s online discussions to foster critical thinking and student engagement? Discuss your ideas and your responses to our featured webinar in the comments.