Moodle Discussion Forum
Develop, Post, Facilitate
Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), online discussion forums, and e-learning offers students a new paradigm in learning by breaking down the barriers of proximity, availability, and access to information. Rules and relationships must now be redefined to align to the new electronic learning environments of information, conversations, conceptual understanding and context within the technology interface.
The forums are a balancing act; levering time, input, value, and sustainability. Participating within discussion forums as a student have offered one perspective, yet now participating as the developer and facilitator have offered another.
As a student, learning can be extended or thwarted. I enjoy the varying perspectives peers post, yet intermittent dialogue can impede the content if too much time has elapsed between submissions. Writing and reading of posts can also reduce the motivation to engage if the content is too lengthy or not relevant to interests.
As the facilitator, one must maintain the focus of learning while promoting interest and participation while ensuring the activity is not so complicated or intricate that students are overwhelmed. The facilitator takes on the additional role of anticipating others interests, opinions and misconceptions before the conversations even started. The generation of the discussion prompt(s) must be carefully crafted by referencing higher-order critical thinking skills and Bloom's Taxonomy question cues to generate targeted responses.
Careful considerations of student learning styles such as interpersonal vs. intrapersonal and/or verbal/linguistic vs. kinesthetic can impact the discussion flow and structure of the discussion itself. Therefore the purpose of the discussion and the expected outcome must be evaluated to reflect all learning modalities. To support diversity, flexibility and differentiation within a collaborative group, understanding others biases, preferences and blockages are paramount to move the group past confrontations and barriers and encourage growth towards collective learning.
Artifact Purpose: This particular discussion forum artifact was developed to be used within my classroom to encourage students' own critical thinking and to facilitate the awareness and understanding of their own personal learning styles and pattern of learning.
Reflection: Experience with the facilitation of this discussion forum has been a wonderful addition to my technology toolbox. I see its value in multiple arenas beyond academic activities such as blogs for feedback, professional development training and other manners in which parent communication can be supported. I have learned the importance of developing appropriate guiding questions to align with the learning outcome objectives while ensuring the appropriate questioning cues were incorporated. This was not as easy as a task as I thought it would be. Multiple revisions were required before I developed appropriately aligned questions that reflected higher level thinking skills and my learning objective outcome.
Select the Discussion Forum button above to view forum content regarding learning style strengths and weaknesses.
Digital image. Moodle Powered. Pixgood.
Web n.d. <http://pixgood.com/moodle-icon-png.html>