Online learning is different than an independent study. Faculty preparing to teach an online class should consider how their students can best achieve the course learning outcomes in the online environment. This will often be best achieved by using a variety of teaching methods. For example, faculty can create narrated presentations or videos of lecture content, share links to important sources of information, and engage students in online conversations. The online discussions can be an excellent way to develop a community of learning in this virtual space.
The asynchronous discussion is one of the most commonly used learning tools in online courses and is even being used to supplement in person learning. However, faculty often struggle with creating question prompts that will facilitate high level conversations. Deciding when, how much, and how to contribute to discussions are other important considerations.
Providing students with clear expectations can help online discussions be productive.