Teaching Tips for Forums

Faculty at Hampshire have had success with the following strategies:

  • Have students respond to readings or other material BEFORE it gets discussed in class, so you can see which questions need to be addressed, which don't, and what the general trend of interest is.┬áMost instructors required the students to complete their posts a couple days before the class, to give them a chance to review and prepare.
  • Use forums as a follow-up to in-class discussion, for example to let students give an opinion that they weren't able to in class, or let people post thoughts that came to them afterwards.
  • Set up a forum for students to share their work for peer review. Remember that they can attach files, and insert media into posts.
  • Have TA's write the first posts to "break the ice".
  • Choosing the auto-subscribe option means all students will get emails of posts until they opt out. This can be a nudge toward participation.
  • Have forum participation as a required assignment, and state specific expectations for the students. There often has to be a perceived value to participation in order for the students to engage.
  • Maintain a teaching presence in the forum- either you or your TA. Respond to posts and help further the discussion. The students will feel more engaged with the activity if they feel an instructor is virtually present.
Last modified: Monday, June 12, 2017, 10:25 AM