Document Type

Unpublished Research Paper

Publication Date



Each year, more students enroll in online classes than the year before (Allen and Seaman, 2017). Online asynchronous discussions are often used in these online classes as a method of interaction between students and the instructor typically via an online discussion forum. It is in the discussion forums that students examine topics, debate points of view, defend opinions, and receive feedback from their instructor and peers despite the location or time difference that may exist between them (Cho and Tobias, 2016). Within these discussions, communities of inquiry can be created and the sense of isolation that can often be defeating to student motivation in the online classroom can be mitigated (Hung and Chou, 2015). There are many effective techniques to use when implementing discussions in the online classroom beyond the traditional call and response asynchronous format. Strategies such as role assignments, structured debates, discussion artifacts, Socratic circles, or video discussions can engage and motivate students, create a sense of social presence, and provide new ways for students and instructors to interact in the online classroom. Using techniques such as role assignments or online debates can facilitate the development of a student's cognitive presence, help build communities of inquiry, and increase their listening skills (Gašević, Adesope, Joksimović, and Kovanović, 2015; Wise and Chiu 2014; Xie, Yu, and Bradshaw, 2014).


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