Finding the balance of instructor feedback in asynchronous discussion boards

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Rose Heaney 6 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #23975

    James Kerr

    Discussion boards can provide a deep learning opportunity for online and blended courses. The asynchronous nature of posting to forums means a participant can take more time to reflect and consider their posts and responses, which generally leads to deeper and more meaningful discussion than ‘live’, or synchronous chat-based, f2f, or webinar-based discussions. The instructor or facilitator should provide feedback in  discussions, sometimes to prompt further inquiry, other times to guide the thread back on-topic. There is a balance the instructor/facilitator needs to find, however, so as not to overpower the discussion, and allow the participants to ‘discover’ meaning and knowledge construction on their own.

    I write about this during this week’s activity, because it is feedback of a different sort-not feedback after an assessment activity or assignment, but ongoing during the inquiry process.

    In the Community of Inquiry model, instructor presence guides the learners in much the same way as in the discussion boards-to serve as a facilitator and guide, not always as the direct transmitter of knowledge. In discussion boards, if the instructor’s presence is too strong, it can drown out the learners’ presence and become a lecture platform, and that is not the aim of discussion as a learning situation.

    There is no prescription for finding the perfect balance; it is completely dependent on the mix of learners’ personalities, learning styles, and content. Some situations may require more direct intervention by instructor/facilitators than others.

  • #24009

    Rose Heaney

    I agree that forums can be a very valuable source of peer and tutor feedback.

    I know it’s not the point you’re making but you have reminded me of the potentially thorny issue of assessing forum posts.  It can sometimes detract from the deeper learning that might might otherwise evolve as students worry about their grades not the content of the discussion.




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