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Facilitating online discussions effectively

Internet and Higher Education Volume 10, Number 1, ISSN 1096-7516 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article presents a synthesis of the theoretical and research literature on facilitating asynchronous online discussions effectively. Online courses need to be designed so that they provide motivation for students to engage in productive discussions and clearly describe what is expected, perhaps in the form of a discussion rubric. Additionally, instructors need to provide discussion forums for socio-emotional discussions that have the goal of nurturing a strong sense of community within the course as well as group discussion forums for content-and task-oriented discussions that center on authentic topics. In order to facilitate discussions effectively, instructors should generate a social presence in the virtual classroom, avoid becoming the center of all discussions by emphasizing student–student interactions, and attend to issues of social equity arising from use of different communication patterns by culturally diverse students [e.g., Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education.


Rovai, A.P. (2007). Facilitating online discussions effectively. Internet and Higher Education, 10(1), 77-88. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved May 13, 2021 from .

This record was imported from Internet and Higher Education on January 29, 2019. Internet and Higher Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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