Thursday, January 19, 2012

How Often Should Faculty Post in Online Forums?

In the Faculty Focus article How Many Faculty Discussion Posts Each Week? A Simply Delicious Answer Cheryl Hayek, EdD uses a dinner party analogy to help instructors understand how to successfully participate without dominating online discussions.

Here's the dinner party break down:

The Dinner Party: The Host’s Actions….

  • Welcome EVERYONE personally at the door. (Online forum)
  • Make sure every person feels comfortable in the new environment. (Tone)
  • Don’t ignore anyone. (Reply to each student throughout the course)
  • Disagreements are phrased professionally.
  • No one should be silent, including the host! (Be present in forums)
  • Serve them something delicious. (Content!)
  • Invite them back! (To weekly forums, to the next assignment even if they’ve faltered on the previous one, to the university if they’ve finished your course)
  • Proportionate time with every guest. (Don’t reply to the same students every time)
  • Spend extra time with needy guests. (Struggling students)
  • Don’t talk all at once, spread the conversation throughout the party. (Post on various days, keeping the volume consistent)
  • Start up a new conversation when one is stale! (Add a relevant link to a current event to discuss)
  • Hosts are visible, immediately attend to guests’ needs, personable, and proactively plan for a great evening!
Just as each dinner party is as unique as both the host and the participants, so too will discussions change and adapt to the individuals in the course. With a little planning and getting to know the "dinner guests" each faculty member can "host" amazing online discussions.

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