EIDT-6511-2: WK7 Application2

cdXGDrPBu7PEjnCmuWvqNoXXXL4j3HpexhjNOf_P3YmryPKwJ94QGRtDb3Sbc6KYTowards More Effective Discussion Moderation

According to the sociocultural theory by Vygotsky, socially meaningful activities, i.e. meaningful interactions with others in the environment, stimulate developmental processes and foster cognitive growth. This is what makes the creation of learning communities where members feel connected to and assist each other in their efforts to learn an important goal of education. In a distance learning environment, learning communities are primarily created and sustained through online discussions.

Success of online discussions is largely dependent on the effectiveness of their design. However, in this week’s Learning Resource (Chapter 9 of E-Learning by Design), William Horton (2007) emphasizes that even the best of designs do not guarantee success of online discussion as a learning activity. Much depends on the moderator’s/facilitator’s skills and attitude (the terms ‘moderator’ and ‘facilitator’ are used interchangeably in educational literature).

As a distant student, you have contributed to a variety of moderated asynchronous discussions. For this week’s discussion, you will reflect on what you learned about effective moderation from this week’s Learning Resource to evaluate ineffective moderation practices and to suggest ways for improvement.

Begin by reflecting on your experience as an online discussion participant and identifying a case when the discussion that you participated in was not very successful due to ineffective moderation. Next, consider the following questions:

  • Given what you have learned this week about effective moderation, why do you think the moderation example you selected was not effective?
  • How would you suggest the moderation could be improved to make the discussion experience more beneficial for the learners? wise-action-pale-gold

By Friday:

Post a brief overview of the ineffective moderation of a discussion that you participated in (for privacy considerations, please, do not reveal the moderator’s identify). Drawing on this week’s Learning Resource, explain why you think the moderator’s behavior on the discussion board failed to enhance the online discussion as a meaningful learning experience and suggest 2 ways in which the moderator could have made the an online discussion more meaningful and engaging.

(The minimum acceptable length of the initial post is 200 words).

By Sunday:

Read through several of your classmates’ posts and respond to at least two of the posts in any of the following ways:

  • Expand on an idea expressed by the author of the post.
  • Share an insight relevant to the experience described by the author of the post.
  • Ask a probing or clarifying question.
  • Explain why and how you see things differently.

(The minimum acceptable response length is 80 words).

For more information on efficient moderation/facilitation of online asynchronous discussions, please, consult the Additional Resources or search the web for other credible resources.

Additional Resources:

Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190–193. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Vance_Durrington/publication/242284166_Strategies_for_Enhancing_Student_Interactivity_in_an_Online_Environment/links/02e7e5294dfc208db0000000.pdf.

Rovai, A.P. (2007). Facilitating online discussions effectively. Internet and Higher Education, 10, 77-88. Retrieved from http://www.itma.vt.edu/modules/spring11/efund/lesson7/Rovai2007FacilitatingEffectiveOnlineDiscussions.pdf.

USC Center for Excellence in Teaching. (n.d.). Facilitating discussions. Retrieved from http://cet.usc.edu/resources/ta_resources/discussions/index.html.

Grading Information:

Your initial post and response(s) to your classmates will be graded against the discussion rubric to be accessed through the following link:

Discussion Rubric LiutovaM

NOTE: The learner who contributes neither an initial discussion post nor any responses to the other participants is not graded.


Five Alternatives to the Talking Head Video for MOOCs & Online Courses

Online Learning Insights

VideoCameraCircleMost xMOOCs, and some for-credit online courses rely heavily upon what many refer to as the ‘talking head’ video format. The ‘talking head’ is usually the subject-matter expert delivering a lecture in his or her area of expertise. There’s great value in this format when used strategically and sparingly. Yet the effectiveness of lecture videos as a primary content source for online courses and MOOCs is difficult to determine. Thanks to a comprehensive study done via edX  we have data on student engagement patterns with videos specific to MOOCs to draw upon (Guo, Kim & Rubin, 2014). Key findings include:

  • The optimal video length is six minutes or shorter
  • Videos produced with a more personal feel could be more engaging than high-fidelity studio recordings
  • Khan-style tablet drawing tutorials (screencasts) are more engaging than PowerPoint slides

Video Viewing Patterns: A Non-MOOC Perspective
There is also data on student video engagement in non-MOOC courses to consider. The School of Continuing Education at Columbia University examined video viewing patterns of…

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How Interactive is Your Online Course? Self-Assess with this Rubric

It is an excellent and insightful post on a most important aspect of online learning. Thank you.

Online Learning Insights

Online instructors and course designers can enhance existing online courses and create active, engaging courses by considering five elements included in an adapted version of Robyler and Ekhamil’s “Rubric for Assessing Interactive Qualities of Distance Courses” described (and embedded) below. 


Interactivity is a much discussed topic in online learning. It’s considered the essential ingredient for quality learning. It’s also considered the missing element in online learning—an element that critics claim make face-to-face learning superior. There is no question that interactivity is a necessary component of online, for-credit education. Three out of seven principles presented in Chickering and Gamson’s seminal paper “Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education(1987) stress interaction and active learning: Principle 1. encourage contact between students and faculty, 2. develop reciprocity and cooperation among students, and 3. encourage active learning. Chickering and Gamson’s principles are just as relevant to online education as they are to face-to-face instruction. Also worth…

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