3 Simple Rules of Facilitating Online Discussion
The role of the instructor in online discussion includes that of a facilitator. The following three basic rules are compiled and adapted from Connected University’s Online Faculty Training course.
- In the first week, respond to every participant’s introduction posting and make them feel welcome.
- After the initial response to participants, try to respond at least once to each participant every week or so, depending on the size of the class. Note: I’ve tried this, and it started to feel forced. So I went back to my original rule: post when you have of value something to say! See #3.
- Instructor posts should deepen the conversation.
- Validate especially strong points without praising the person.
- Ask questions. Challenge those on the right track to extend themselves even further.
- Redirect those participants who aren’t quite hitting the nail on the head to more closely approximate what you’re looking for in their understanding of the concepts involved.
Note: This was first written for the AVLN Active Online Teaching course in 2002.