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discussion in online learning environment April 13, 2010

I think discussion has many benefits for online learning environment. I mean we get many benefits from not only having process of discussion but also having discussion itself.

With Salmon’s five step model, online learners can participate online discussion for several purposes. In first step, learners can learn how to access and get motivated to participate in discussion. In second stage, students can develop online socialization, building bridges between cultural, social, and learning environments. For third step, students can exchange information which is related to learning contents, discussing, overcoming misconceptions and misunderstandings. Anderson also emphasized its function not only creation of community inquiry, but also means of developing students’ thought and articulating their ideas (p350). Likewise, online discussion helps students’ learning from motivation to collaboration, bridging between gaps.

For my case, I check discussion first to have some ideas before reading or writing. From discussion, I can feel more connected with others or contents. However, sometimes, discussion doesn’t work very well because some barriers: time, language ability, or attitude.

For facilitating discussion, many suggestions for instructors were discussed in Anderson’s article. However, I was interested in posting suggestions which Nada Dabbagh offered. To know these recommendations would be much helpful for online learners in the beginning of the program. If we analyze the ongoing discussion and observe what would be barriers for each, discussion would be designed for more comfortable and satisfied condition.

Recommendations (Nada Dabbagh, 2000)

  1. Postings should be evenly distributed during the discussion period.
  2. Posting should be a minimum of one short paragraph and a maximum of two paragraphs.
  3. If you agree with a posting, then show supporting evidences from readings or examples.
  4. Address the questions as much as possible.
  5. Try to use quotes from the articles with page numbers.
  6. Create thread
  7. Bring in related prior knowledge
  8. Use proper etiquette.

Suggestion for improvement from student’s view

  1. Recommendation 1,2 would be dependent on the question. If the question is designed to develop thought process, students participate like that. The question requires a profound answer, students would be lost not managing it step by step from reading to develop their thoughts.
  2. Recommendation 3-6 would be essential to trigger more relevant replying.
  3. Recommendation 7 is good for students to develop their thoughts and connect what they learned. However, sometimes, it is very difficult for students to retrieve prior knowledge to connect with ongoing discussion. To do this, the discussion would be led in well-structured by instructors. If it is an ill-structured question ( open ended), retrieval cues can be found nearby.
  4.  Recommendation 8 is very important to communicate, but sometimes students feel different because of their cultural backgrounds.

I told some benefits of discussion, introduced some recommendations for posting and gave some improvement tips here. I think communication is crucial for effective learning, so discussion is an essential tool. However, more effective discussion, he components of discussion should be considered from students views as well as instructors views.

Then think about why I am always late?

I am really sick and tired about being late. Every week, I plan and plan, but it never work as planned.

What is wrong with me? I have been thought this issue for long time.

1. Cultural difference

I have never learned in western educational system where discussion or analysis based educaion occurs.

I am not accustomed to arrange my thought and reply in short time. My thought is growing while I am thinking about answering. then I get lost very easily. Therefore, I like to learn how to organize my thoughts and cut off distractions and unnecessary process. In addition, I am a returning student who are not familiar with technology -based education environment. Fortanately, I like to learn new things, so I enjoy this moment very much.

2. My personality

I usually think so deeply and cannot stop to answer before I think I get a right answer. Time  management is very hard for me.  I usually do so much things at the same time, so I am distracted so much. However, I like to connect all things together to create new things. Thesedays, I feel my personality makes me so tired even though I like my personality.

What can I do for this? I cannot cut off, stop, decide something.

3. technology based society

Technology makes me do many things in multitasking style, convenient way and , rapid process.

Before I fully understand, I need to start something new every day. In educational life, I can learn and have many chances to encounter new technologies. However, I am not sure I can say I know them quite well. There are so many novices or people who are not interested in new technology, but in my learning, I am supposed to know them.

What is real one?

4. Language

Language is really crucial for learning and communication. Different language makes me crazy.

Why I start to learn in America with this painful experiences?

It is really painful, but it is worthwhile. I am enjoying overcoming my barriers: langauge, age, mom’s status.

I hope I can be helpful person for learners like me who have many barriers, but like exploring.

What about instructional design?

Is it really suitable for me and my life style or learning style?

The question of discussion leads me to anwsering in two paragraphs?  My questions would be considered and answered in the discussion period? Why I forgot every thing I already read when I am doing the posting writing.

The instructional design supports my memory processing?

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