Some pitfalls are equally relevant to face to face and online learning.
I find I too often fail to provide time and space for students to really interact and share with one another. In our class in particular – the U.S. Health System – many of the students have had intense experiences as a patient or as a family member of someone going through a difficult health event. I find that they often will communicate with me and I learn more from them about the intricacies and depth of some of the systems issues we discuss in class as well as the still astonishing disconnect between what we need from the health care system and what we actually get. But, I rarely carve out the space in a large (mostly lecture) class for them to share those experiences with one another and I am unsure how to effectively create a space that encourages that sharing online. Helping students develop empathy may not be among our stated course goals but it should be. So, I am hoping to learn how to more effectively use the online tools to encourage students learn more about each other.
I think my goal is similar in that I would like to create a place for students to share professional knowledge in the food engineering arena obtained through internship and other prior work experiences. Many of the students in my classes are a little older being juniors or seniors or have worked in the food industry for several years before coming to get their undergraduate or undergraduate degrees. The use of discussion forums to tap into this knowledge for the benefit of all including the instructor is something I would like to look into.
I had a similar experience when I first delivered an e-campus course (Non-point Source Pollution) last year. On Discussion Board, some students provided good examples of non-point source pollution based on their personal experience and spurred a lot of interesting discussion. I also found that some times students answered each other’s questions more promptly than I did since I only worked on Canvas for a certain period time per day to fulfill my other commitments.