Week 1- Scheduling Types of Discussions


  1. List/create a topic for each week of your course.
  2. Choose and list your Type of Discussion for each week of your course.

Discussion forums are the most commonly used tool in online teaching for interaction between students, and between students and the instructor. Discussion forums provide the ability for asynchronous discussion to occur over a period of time.

The ability to learn asynchronously is one of the primary benefits of online learning. Students are able to reflect upon their ideas before sharing them with the class, leading to more reflective responses and in-depth learning.

 Benefits of Using Online Discussions
  • Builds class community by promoting discussion on course topics
  • Allows time for in-depth reflection students have more time to reflect, research & compose their thoughts before participating in the discussion
  • Facilitates learning by allowing students to view & to respond to the work of others
  • Develops thinking & writing skills
  • Allows guest experts to participate in the course by posting information & responding to questions
What is the purpose of your discussion?

Online discussions  activities can serve a variety of purposes and can be used to meet a wide range of instructional objectives. Discussions should be used to meet specific course objectives and should be aligned with course content. Well-designed discussion board activities can be used to encourage the following:

  •  Demonstration of Knowledge of Key Concepts – Using the discussion board to discuss key concepts allows students to learn from one another and share ideas. When students submit an assignment directly to a teacher, this sharing of ideas is lost.
  • Community Building – One of the primary reasons for using discussion boards is to build a community of learners. This tool allows students to become part of a vibrant learning community, rather than an just an independent learner completing & submitting assignments with no real peer interaction.
  • Reflection – Reflective activities require students to share a synthesis of the learning experience, or to describe how a situation or experience has personal value to them. These kinds of activities should allow for honest and open responses.
  • Consensus Building – Consensus building activities require students to work together to create a product or to come to an agreement on some topic.
  • Critical Thinking – through the use of higher order questioning techniques and activities, the discussion board can be used to encourage critical thinking skills.
  • Student Leadership: the effective use of discussion forums can encourage student leadership by giving them a voice in the classroom.
 Scheduling Types of Discussions

Creating your discussions begin with deciding and scheduling what type of discussion you would like to have each week. With a little planning & adaptation for online learning, you can easily use all of the types listed for your students to connect and create a community of learning.

Example: Icebreakers/Introductory Activities  For First week of the Online Course

  •  Icebreakers-They provide students with an opportunity to get to know one another and to interact in an Informal way. They should be fun and non-threatening and require participants to find something in common with others in the group.
  • Personal Introductions – ask each student to introduce themselves on the discussion board at the beginning of the term. Respond to each student & encourage the class to respond to one another’s introductions.
  • Portrait – students create a portrait of themselves in any medium, digitize the portrait and share it on the discussion board.
  •  Interviews – have pairs of students interview each other on a given topic and post the interview results in the discussion board.
Choosing Different Types of Discussions

This week you will be asked to decide on which types you want to use in each week of your online course

Type Of Discussion Discussion Question Examples


Depth (go beyond the surface and deal with complexity)    

The media discusses some of the implications of accurate and specific earthquake prediction. Given the possible socio economic impacts and the tendency of humans to downplay the threat of hazards, to what extent should scientists pursue the ability to accurately forecast earthquakes? What would make accurate predictions worthwhile or not worthwhile? Are certain industries or groups more likely to be supportive of earthquake prediction and others against? Who are these groups and why would they feel this way? (GEOG)
Application You are asked to find out what is inside a wooden box, but you are not allowed to look inside it. How could you find out what is inside? How is this question related to the scientific method? (MARN)
Warm­ Up Discussion Activity From your recollections of studying geography in grade school or high school, what tradition or traditions were most prominent in the material of your courses? Give some examples. (GEOG)
Reflection, Multiple Perspectives I want you to consider these images without doing any research at all about them. For each image, describe exactly what you see. Do you like the images? Is one “better” than the other? (ART)
Questioning Assumptions, Multiple Perspectives How democratic is the United States? In what ways are we clearly democratic and in what ways do you think we may be less so or not at all? (POLS)
Analysis, Clarifying Explanations What changes (if any) do you believe should be made to the social security system of the United States? (GEOG)
Multiple Perspectives, Real World Implications As we are discussing civil liberties this week, I thought that we should examine a current issue: the balance between liberty and security. Have we given up too many of our civil liberties in the face of the threat we face today, or have the actions of the federal government been necessary given these threats? (POLS)
Clarifying Explanations, Real World Implications, Synthesis If you were a middle manager for a large insurance company, what recommendations could you make to assist a senior level team faced with the challenge of age stratification in the workforce? (Adapted for MGMT)
Clarifying Explanations, Real­World Implications Human society creates a lot of waste and we need to do something with it once it has been formed. Do you think that the deep sea is a good place to dump waste? Some types of waste? Why or why not? Are there places in the deep sea that may be better than others? Why? (MARN)
Introduction: Building a Community of Learners Please introduce yourself to your classmates. In addition to sharing your name, feel free to add information about yourself that may help others get to know you and work with you on various class activities. As desired, you may also want to let others know why you are taking this course and about your interest in this subject.
Challenge Assumptions

In the news today there is much discussion about the relationships among the

branches of government, and whether the balance of power among them is correct. Does the current balance of power among the three branches works effectively, or is a change is needed?

Multiple Perspectives Both Reading 1 and Reading 2 suggest that there are sharp contradictions between “Western” values and actual “Western” behavior. What are these contradictions and how do you interpret the apparent gap?
Synthesis, Interpretation Design an imaginary organism (should not exist in real life) for a specific marine habitat of your choice. Think about the role of temperature, water movement, light, density, and food sources in defining the ideal characteristics for prospering in this environment. Also, think about areas where it would not be possible for your organism to live with these characteristics. Describe your organism.
Analysis, Debate, Point­ of­ View Read the “Addicted to Oil” vignette. What are your thoughts on the question of the SUV boom? Should the government impose any type of regulation on these vehicles? Why or why not?
Warm­ Up Discussion Activity Please share your thoughts on the following quote: “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” (Maya Angelo)
Real World Implications, Clarifying Is there any brand or company (do not use the brand examples in the article) who have used consumer feedback effectively and successfully to improve/enhance product attributes? How have they done it? Please share the source/news item or article that you have referred to for this discussion.
Reflection? What have you found to be the most interesting topic in this course? Why?
Real World Implications, Reflective Imagine the world 100 years from now. Select one issue we have discussed in this course and describe how it might be impacting future generations.
Examples of Different  Types of  Discussion Activities
Cyber Cafe
Introductory Icebreaker Discussion
Reflection Discussion
Divergent (open-ended question) Discussion
Evaluative (open-ended question) Discussion
Discussion Wrap
Ask an Expert
Peer Review
Role Play
Case Study Scenario with Role Play
What’s in the News?
Small Groups
Virtual Field Trips

Google@UH Consumer Apps

Under an agreement with Google, the University of Hawaii (UH) offers two types of Google applications through Google@UH:

  1. Core applications (Core Apps) and
  2. Consumer applications (Consumer Apps).

Core Apps include Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Sites, Groups (UH-only account collaboration), Contacts, and Talk. These applications are governed by a master agreement between UH and Google, and are available through Google@UH to all UH accounts.

Consumer Apps include applications such as Blogger, Google Bookmarks, Google Maps, Google Groups (all account collaboration), Google+, Picasa Web Albums, Google Analytics and YouTube.

Consumer Apps include Google+ which is  governed by either Google’s general Terms of Services or by app-specific terms.

Before you Begin

  1. Turn on Consumer Apps
    1. To use the Consumer Apps with your Google@UH account, you must first turn on the Consumer Apps at http://www.hawaii.edu/google/extra.
    2. Instructions to turn on the Consumer Apps are at http://www.hawaii.edu/askus/1649.
  2. Join the Google+ Community

    1. Click here>UDL Online Activity Challenge
    2. Click on ‘Home’ to view your home stream – here you’ll see posts based on your interests and what/who you follow.

Quick rundown on how to use Google+

  1. Click on ‘Collections’ to see and share posts based on topics you’re interested in.
  2. Click on ‘Communities’ to have conversations with other people who share your interests.
  3. Click on ‘Profile’ to see your own posts.
  4. Click on ‘People’ to find people to follow, see who you are currently following (that’s where you manage your circles as well), or who follows you.
  5. Click on ‘Circle Streams’ to see streams (posts) from specific circles you’ve created. (NOTE: if you don’t see this option, go to Settings, scroll down to Advanced Settings, and turn on ‘Enable circle stream in navigation’.)
  6. In ‘Settings’ you can fine-tuned a few profile features, as well as your notifications.

Earn Your Badge

First- Introduce Yourself

Click on >Introduce yourself 

This link takes you to the Introduction section in Teaching Online Challenge Google+ Community. Please take a moment and tell us who you are and why you are here. Click on  pencil  to post your introduction.

Step 1- Action Plan
Scheduling Types of Discussions

Follow the steps below to complete your action plan this week.

How to share your Google Doc  with comments

  1. Open your google document and click share in upper right corner.


  1. In share with others click on “Get shareable link”.

get sharaeable link

  1.  Choose anyone at the University of Hawaii with the link can comment.

share with comments



Next: Step 2- Creating Discussion Questions & Activities

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