FACULTY DEVELOPMENT FOR ENGAGING IN ONLINE DISCUSSION PARTICIPATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION

L. Bedford

Walden University (UNITED STATES)
While emerging technologies have become more commonplace in online learning, the discussion board continues to be a critical component in student learning (Nash, 2011; Vlachopoulos & Cowan, 2010). The literature is replete with research on the effectiveness of online discussion forums (for example, Brinthaupt, Fisher, Gardner, Raffo, & Woodard, 2011; Nandi, Hamilton, Chang, & Balbo, 2012.; Cranney, Wallace, Alexander, & Alfano, 2011). Given this, many institutions have introduced requirements for online faculty to engage in the online discussion forum frequently and substantively. In general, instructors understand that active, meaningful participation in the discussion requires more than a simple, cursory response to a few students and that their role is more critical to the outcome of the exercise (Nash, 2011). However, institutions continually struggle to identify innovative and effective strategies to support faculty in their efforts to meet expectations. (Cariago-Lo, Worthy-Dawkins, Enger, Schotter, & Spence, 2010). In this session, participants will experience a professional development opportunity that can be replicated with faculty to build skills in discussion facilitation. A framework will be introduced as a means to make sense of the overwhelming number of discussion responses posted by students, create relationships among perspectives presented, and ensure that student learning is maximized.

References:
Brinthaput, T., Fisher, L., Gardner, J., Raffo, D., & Woodard, J. (2011). What the best online teachers should do. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(4). http://jolt.merlot.org; Cariagoa-Lo, L., Dawkins, Ph., Enger, R., Schotter, A., & Spence, C. (2010). Supporting the development of the professoriate. Peer Review, 12(3), 19; Cranney, M., Alexander, J.L., Wallace, L., & Alfano, L. (2011). Instructor's discussion forum effort: Is it worth it? MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 7(3), 337-348. Received from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol7no3/cranney_0911.pdf; Nandi, D., Hamilton, M., Chang, S., & Balbo, S. (2012). Evaluating quality in online asynchronous interactions between students and discussion facilitators. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(4), 684-702. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/nandi.htmlNash, J. (2011). A tale of two forums: One professor’s path to improve learning through a common online teaching tool. Journal of Research on Leadership Education, 6(5), 181–194. http://jrl.sagepub.com/; Vlachopoulos, P., & Cowan, J. (2010). Reconceptualising moderation in asynchronous online discussions using grounded theory. Distance Education, 31(1), 23–36. doi:10.1080/01587911003724611