Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Constructing Quality Questions for Discussions

Resources for this week:

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007) Chapter 8 "Promoting Collaborative Learning"

Swan K., Shen J., & Hiltz, S. (nd) "Assessment and Collaboration in Online Learning"

Many experts believe that collaboration is the key to learning in the online classroom environment. By learning together students have the opportunity deepen and extend their learning, test out new ideas and receive constructive and quality feedback.  (Palloff, & Pratt, 2005).   Furthermore, collaborative and inquiry-based learning has been show to increase students' "deep understanding" of concepts (Bielaczyc & Collins, 1999), such that they can build upon the concepts and apply the concepts in "real world" situations.

Discussion Instructions
Begin you discussion by using the resources provided this week. Then, reflect on your collaborative learning experiences whether it be in an online environment or a face to face course. Next, consider the following questions before creating your discussion post. Lastly, continue on to the discussion board.

  • What elements are needed in order for instructional designers and instructors to foster and promote an online collaborative learning environment?
  • How do learners benefit when using collaborative techniques in the online classroom?
  • Give an example of when you had a positive or negative collaborative learning experience. Why was it positive or negative? What could have been done differently to enhance the experience?

By Wednesday:
Create a discussion post that reflects on your own experiences in a collaborative learning environment. Your original posting should be supported with resources.

By Sunday:
Respond to at least two of your classmates discussion posts. Ensure that your post is respectful and deepens or expands the discussion. You may also question, analyze or give constructive feedback presented by your classmate. Your comments should be supported with resources. Simply writing "good job" or "I agree" without feedback as to why is unacceptable. Also consider responding to those classmates who responded to your original posting.

Look at the Discussion Rubric below while writing your postings to help guide you.

Discussion Rubric


Meets Standards
Posting Frequency
Participates multiple times during the week over multiple days.
Participates but is not distributed over the week.
Participates only 1-2 times for the week, only 1 or 2 days.
Does not participate at all.
Initial Assignment Posting
Posting is fully developed and address all aspects of the assignment.
Posting is well developed and addresses the majority of the assignment.
Posting is barely developed with limited preparation and does not address all aspects of the assignment.
Posting is not evident.
Response Postings
Analyzes and responds to classmates’ postings with meaningful discussions building on previous post.
Responds to classmates’ postings with further comments or observations.
Responds to discussion with limited comments or observations that do not enrich discussion.
Posts no follow up responses to others.
Uses references to literature, videos, and/or other media as well as personal experiences to support comments.
Uses some references from literature and personal experiences.
Uses personal experience but no reference to readings or research.
Includes not references or supporting experiences.
APA Style and Correct Grammar Usage
APA style is used correctly and comments are free of grammatical or spelling errors.
APA style is used is used with only minor errors and comments are free of grammatical or spelling errors.
APA style is used but with major errors and comments contain many grammar and spelling errors.
APA style of writing is not used and numerous grammar and spelling errors are present.



Bielaczyc, K., & Collins, A. (1999). Learning Communities in Classrooms: A Reconceptualization of Educational Practices. In C. M. Reigeluth, Instructional-design theories and models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp. 269-292).

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2005). Learning together in community: Collaboration online. Retrieved from

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Retrieved from

Swan, K., Shen, J., & Hiltz, S. (n.d.) Assessment and collaboration in online learning. Retrieved from