Online Discussions: Tips for Best Practice

Interaction is a key component of the learning process, and a well-designed discussion forum can elicit each of the three types of learner interactions, student-to-student interaction, student-instructor interaction, and student-content interaction.

From a faculty perspective, online discussions provide opportunities to foster authentic peer interactions and develop the social presence of instructors in the online environment. Effective discussions stimulate intellectual interaction and provide an opportunity to engage students' higher-level thinking skills like application, analysis, and evaluation. Discussion board forums may occur asynchronously, or they may occur in combination with synchronous interactions.

The following animation video highlights some common pitfalls of online discussions and provides tips for making them more effective learning activities in your online or blended courses.