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Utilizing Discussion Boards as a high-impact assessment tool (assignment example)

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ASSESSING LEARNING
Utilizing Discussion Boards as a high-impact assessment tool (assignment example)

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Author :
Andrea Bierema
Utilizing Discussion Boards as a high-impact assessment tool (assignment example)

AB Contact profile image
Author :
Andrea Bierema

For Dr. Bierema’s ISB202 courses, two different approaches to discussion boards are applied- one that requires initial posts, and one that doesn’t. Here are the instruction overviews for each.

  • Initial Post Required: Students are engaged in online, asynchronous discussion during most weeks. “Engagement in asynchronous discussion” means that students are responding to instructor questions and replying to one another with new information, explanations, examples (cited or personal), and thought-provoking questions throughout the week at times that are convenient to the students.
    • Initial posts to each question and peer responses are required. Initial posts are due by Tuesday of each week. Peer responses can occur on any day throughout the discussion week-including the day that initial posts are submitted- provided that they happen on three different days. The purpose of having a required number of days rather than a required number of posts is to facilitate back-and-forth discussion. Students need to be engaged in the discussion, not just making posts on a discussion board. Posts must also only occur during the respective week, which starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. For instance, posts made in the Week 1 forum during Week 2 do not count toward engagement of either week. This is to further facilitate engagement in active discussion. Peer responses can occur in any of the threads for that week. Therefore, a student may respond to peers three times (each on a different day) in one thread only and receive full credit, provided that the rubric is followed. Responses can occur to initial posts or to other peer responses.
    • Notice that there are two criteria in the rubric for peer responses, and that there is not one for just the number of posts. This means that simply making posts (such as “I agree with…”) on three days will not earn points. Instead, both critical thinking and comprehension must be illustrated on each of these days to earn credit for those posts. Examples of critical thinking include posting follow-up questions that extend the discussion, new examples (either personal or cited), or viewpoints of those not previously identified.
    • Completing initial posts does not count toward the number of days because the “number of days” in the rubric refers to peer responses. Initial posts are due by Tuesday but students are encouraged to begin as soon as they complete the prep assignment for that week. This way, students can also start their peer responses earlier in the week- students do not have to wait until after the initial post due date to start responding to peers.

Frequently asked Questions

  • What is the discussion board?
    • The discussion board is a D2L feature. Students post on the discussion each week. Weekly links are found in the corresponding weekly (e.g., Week 1) content folder. To access the discussion board directly, click on the “communications” tab and then “discussions.” See this video for a brief tutorial.
  • Why are we engaging weekly in the discussion board?
    • The engagement allows students to not only apply the content that they learned from the online preps, but it also gives them a chance to learn from other perspectives by interacting with their peers and teaching team. The course is a three-credit course that only meets face-to-face once a week; the other two contact hours are arranged online.
  • What does “asynchronous” mean?
    • This means that students can post during times that are convenient to them- there are no set times that students have to be in the online classroom but there are due dates.
  • How many posts do I need to do?
    • Post an initial post to each thread- the number of threads vary each week depending on the amount of work for each one. Then post peer responses on three days of the week. Make sure to read through the discussion board rubric located in the “Course Materials” content folder. Responses are not just counted; they are checked for comprehension and critical thinking.
  • How many initial posts do I have to do each week?
    • The number of questions vary each week. All threads (i.e., initial questions) need an initial response.
  • Do I need to post a peer response to each thread?
    • No, students are required to do three peer responses overall. This can be in any combination across the threads (i.e., initial questions) or even just in one thread.
  • Can I post a peer response on the same day as an initial post?
    • Yes, a peer response can be posted on any day of the discussion week (Sunday through Saturday), including days that initial posts are completed/due.
  • What happens if I do all my peer responses in one day?
    • As seen in the rubric, points for peer responses are provided by day, not by post. Therefore, posting three responses on one day is equivalent to posting one response. To receive full credit, students need to post on separate days.
  • How long does each post have to be?
    • There is not a length requirement on posts. The length will vary with the type of post. For instance, posting a cited example will be a longer post than posting a thoughtful question.
  • When are peer responses due?
    • Students can complete peer responses on any day of the respective week, which runs Sunday through Saturday. The last peer response has to be submitted by Saturday.
  • Are late posts accepted?
    • The initial post is due on Tuesday but is accepted late for partial credit. Posts and peer responses have to occur during the respective week, which runs Sunday through Saturday (the last day for posting a peer response is Saturday). The purpose is to promote a back-and-forth discussion.
  • Are any of the discussion board tasks dropped?
    • One discussion board task is dropped. The lowest grade is dropped, even if the lowest grade is 100% or zero. This is automatically updated in the gradebook. Therefore, if a 100% is dropped but later you receive an 80%, then the 80% will be dropped, and so on.
  • Do my posts need to include citations?
    • The instructions for the initial posts will explain if a citation is needed. Supporting ideas with cited information is a way to illustrate critical thinking. Make sure to include a citation whenever using information that was not part of your prior knowledge.
  • I included a citation in one of peer responses, but it did not count as critical thinking. Why?
    • Although a citation may be included, none of the content from the cited source was incorporated into the response.
  • Why is it some of the discussion boards are locked?
    • Discussion boards remain locked until the week begins. This is so that students can see the questions if they want to prepare ahead of time but also encourages students to engage in discussion during the specified timeframe so that they can interact with their peers.
  • I thought that there were over 100 students in this class. Why are there so few engaging in discussion?
    • The class was split into multiple groups for the discussion board. This was to help make it so that the number of posts was not overwhelming for students.
  • What do I do if I feel like another student was being disrespectful on the discussion board?
    • Disagreements and challenges (with the use of evidence) will happen but students are expected to always be respectful to each other. Disrespect can make for an unwelcoming environment. Therefore, if you think someone is being -or at least coming across as- disrespectful, then the student can either talk with that student privately or ask the instructor to talk with the student. Please do this via email rather than on the discussion board.
  • Initial Post NOT Required: Students are engaged in asynchronous discussion during Weeks 1-6. “Engagement in asynchronous discussion” means that students are responding to instructor questions and replying to one another with new information, explanations, examples (cited or personal), and thought-provoking questions throughout the week at times that are convenient to the them. To clarify the language used when referring to the D2L discussion board: If you click on the D2L tab labeled “Discussions”, it takes you to the discussion board. The board is separated into forums. Our class has a few forums, including one that houses everything for “engagement.” Within the forum, are “topics”- one for each week. Within each topic is a list of threads.
  • Several threads are posted each week for engagement, but not all of them are required. Students are required to:
    • Respond to the weekly case study thread (can be done any time of the week, but the earlier, the better)
    • Respond to the weekly reflection thread (can be done any time of the week, and should be toward the end of the week)
    • Complete three additional posts, each on a separate, non-consecutive day (discussion boards are open Monday through Sunday)
  • The three additional posts (last bullet point above) must be made on at least three non-consecutive days. “Non-consecutive” means that the days are not back-to-back. Therefore, waiting until Friday to start posting will result in a low grade. Rather, it must start earlier in the week to have time for non-consecutive days. The purpose of having a required number of non-consecutive days rather than a required number of posts is to facilitate back-and-forth discussion. The graded task is titled “engagement” rather than “discussion board” because students need to be engaged in the discussion, not simply posting on a discussion board. Posts must also only occur during the respective week. In other words, posts cannot be made before the week begins nor after the week ends. This is to further facilitate engagement in discussion.
    • Notice in the rubric (which is at the end of this document) that there is not a separate criterion for number of posting days. Instead, it is incorporated into the following criteria: critical analysis, variation, and comprehension. “Mastery” for nearly every critical element includes “three non-consecutive days.” This means that not only does that critical element need to be addressed in the posts but that posts occur on at least three non-consecutive days.
    • The rubric has a criterion titled “variation.” This means that students will need to do a variety of types of posts. For instance, if a student only responds to every topic posted by the instructor then that student will receive a “0%” for “Variation.” The purpose, again, is to facilitate engagement in discussion. For example, a student may post a current news event (which is a weekly thread), respond to one peer with a personal example, and respond to another peer with a thought-provoking question. This student would receive a 100% on “Variation.” If that student also posted on three non-consecutive days during the week, had the posts relate to course content, used correct spelling and punctuation, and had a professional and respectful tone, then that student would receive 100% on engagement. This is just one example of how a student can receive 100% on engagement. The following are types of posts:
      • Responding with an initial post to a non-required thread
      • Posting a news story by following the instructions in the “Current events” thread
      • Responding to a peer or teaching team member with
      • A thought-provoking question (not just- “why did you respond in this way?”)
      • A personal example
      • The viewpoint of another stakeholder (a stakeholder is a group of people that have similar interests/investments/influences)
      • A cited example (include the citation)
  • This is the interactive part of this online course, so have fun while learning new things from different perspectives!
  • Example rubrics are attached. 

 

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  • ISB_S20_Disc....docx

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    Posted by:
    Dave Goodrich #iteachmsu
    #rubric