Open-ended Discussion Boards to enable student-led discovery/content

For my course I will have 2 open-ended discussion boards that students can post new information that they have come across from other sources outside the class.  This will allow students to contribute to the direction of the course discsussion while earning optional extra credit points toward their grade in the process.  The first of these will be to post relevant news articles on climate change.  The second will be to post relevant blogs, youtube videos, or websites that question whether:

  • the climate is warming,
  • humans are responsible,
  • warming will have an impact, or
  • it is feasible to try to make a change.

Below is the post for the News discussion Board.  I would love it if folks have suggestions or thoughts on how to improve upon it.  Thanks in advance!  Jillian

Example Discussion Board Post:

WOW – Global Climate Change is all over the News!  And just in time while you are taking this course on Introduction to Climate Change.  To help keep everyone abreast of all that is happening, post Global Climate Change News articles or links of interest on this new Discussion Board.

Maximum extra credit on this Discussion Board will be 40 points.
All points will be added after the Discussion Board closes at the end of week 9.
5 points: Posted a link to an article, blog, seminar, etc. together with an overview of the content and a statement describing what aspect of this course’ lectures/labs/reading it addresses. (Also post each to Turnitin!)
1 point (maximum of 5 of these types of posts):
Conversational post
                e.g.: “OMG, XXX is so amazing! (must be specific to the post!).
                           Then state what further information would you want to know?
                           Thanks for posting!
3 points (maximum 3 of these types of posts):
Short but thoughtful response to someone else’s post (1 paragraph).
e.g.: I agree with you and also found the part where they said “xxx” super interesting.  Although I am not sure I agree with or understand the point where they said “xxx”.  Does anyone get this or have any insights on xxx???  It seemed related to xxx in this course….
5 points: Involved response to someone else’s post (2 or more paragraphs).
Should include additional links or references to course material and be posted to Turnitin!
10 points: Outstanding original post or response that nails the entire issue (3 or more paragraphs).  Must include at least three references using proper citation format as outlined in the Start Here module and be posted to Turnitin.
“Liking” is also possible – so go ahead and “like” posts that you find interesting!


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2 Responses to Open-ended Discussion Boards to enable student-led discovery/content

  1. sakumak says:

    I love the idea of this but I find myself falling for one of the pitfalls as both the instructor and the student where I might design the discussion board to be interactive and then I forget it’s there so I don’t engage much or I forget to grade it or (as a student), I post and ditch. How engaged should faculty be to keep students coming back and checking the discussion boards? Any tips on bolstering more consistent engagement?

  2. Brigitte says:

    I love this idea, too. The only challenge I see after taking this hybrid workshop (and seeing what discussion boards are like) is that Canvas discussion boards are a little clunky. When we receive Canvas email updates that show bits and pieces of the discussion board, the discussion is not easy to follow (to make any sense, you have to go back to the actual Canvas site discussion board in order for anything to make sense). I quickly look at the emailed Canvas updates, but because I am often on my little phone when I check email, I don’t link back to the Canvas discussion board (then, after time passes, I forget about the board).

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