Consider the importance of your presence as an instructor. Your presence can be achieved by doing the following:
Ask open-ended questions as opposed to focused ones: case studies, open sharing, controversial issues.
Invoke: course readings (require cited references), student personal experiences, and learning activities from that week.
Clearly state what you want them to ask/discuss.
Give parameters for the length of the discussion post and due date/time.
Give parameters for the length of responses to one or two peers and due date/time.
Log into the discussion frequently during the week.
Read a few posts each day; interject if things go off-track.
Respond to some students per discussion, but not all of them.
Could be counter-productive to do so and is time-consuming.
Respond to students:
Who seem to be struggling
Who ask questions only you can answer,
Who are doing really well (occasional spotlight praise).
Respond to every student at least 1-2 times weekly.
If a discussion becomes inappropriate or disrespectful, take it offline and respond to student/s via email or a personal phone call/Zoom/etc.
Provide a grading rationale and/or rubric for students.
Provide netiquette guidelines.
Divide students into discussion groups of 5-7 students, possibly with different topics for each group. It makes it easier for instructors to track threads; it makes it easier for students to interact.
Consider the importance of brief online lectures. Lectures should be between 6 to 15 minutes, and long lectures should be broken up into smaller videos. Here is an overview of what the research says from online learning quality assurance provider, Quality Matters. After reading the above information, consider the following:
In an online environment there is not a real way to prevent students from taking quizzes and finals with open books or open note. Instead of thinking of quizzes as a way to assess student memorization before attempting a quiz, think of it as an activity to reinforce or support lessons from course readings. Some examples of the above are the following:
If you do want to keep using traditional quizzes in Moodle, there are a few tweaks that could make it slightly more difficult for students to share answers. Do the following:
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