Time Management Strategies for Online Courses
4. Discussion Boards
The discussion board is the primary means of interaction between students and the instructor. Because of this, reading and responding to the discussion postings of students can quickly get out of hand, particularly if the instructor feels the need to respond to each and every student posting. Consider using some of the below tips to regain control of the time spent using this tool.
Stress the importance of student-student interactions.
At the beginning of the course freely respond to as many student discussion postings as possible. At the same time,encourage students to respond to each other in these forums.As the semester progresses, respond to fewer postings but continue to encourage student responses. Respond to student discussion postings only to make a critical learning point or to get a discussion forum back on track.
Make discussion responses a requirement by awarding points for each discussion reply.
Requiring responses will give every student the opportunity to respond to the forum topic while ensuring that every student is interacting with the material. In addition, a required response is an excellent method of assessing learning outcomes while getting a feel for writing styles of each student.
Respond to common student questions using the discussion board and use emails only for confidential responses or for responses that pertain only to one student.
If found that several students are asking similar questions, summarize the question and create a discussion topic, then respond once to that discussion topic.
Create responses to common questions and save them in an electronic document.
When appropriate, copy the text and paste it into the appropriate discussion response, adding to and editing the text as necessary.
Do not make the mistake of having too many interactions and assessments.
Online assessment methods can easily become a major time management headache. Consider using peer assessment as one method of assessing competency. Not only does this relieve you of some of the burden of assessing student submissions, but also gives students the opportunity of peer review and critique,particularly in an online environment where such skills may have never been attempted.