Activities: Discussion Management

Author Information
Author(s): 
Donna Rogers
Institution(s) or Organization(s) Where EP Occurred: 
University at Albany
Effective Practice Abstract/Summary
Abstract/Summary of Effective Practice: 

The University at Albany emphasizes consistent abundant professor-student interaction three times a week for each week of the semester in its online MS program in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology.

Description of the Effective Practice
Description of the Effective Practice: 

Provides consistent abundant professor-student interaction three times a week for each week of the semester in its online MS program in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology.

Supporting Information for this Effective Practice
Evidence of Effectiveness: 

Very positive comments in the final summary interaction and extremely positive comments on the SLN evaluation from students relating to the feeling of communications.

How does this practice relate to pillars?: 

University at Albany offers their entire master's program for the School of Education, Curriculum and Development in Instructional Technology online through the SUNY Learning Network (SLN). Two courses, Computers in Education and Media in Education in particular, structure their activities in each of four modules as discussions, readings with critiques, lesson planning, and reflective learning journals. An attentive focus by the instructor to the management of the discussions has proven very effective to the integration of course skills to classroom practices. We structure a question or incident each week for students to react to, based on their experience and their readings. They are required to post their response to the incident and to also respond to two of their classmates' ideas each week. The professor privately responds to EACH posting with supportive comments and/or extending ideas. The practice has led to many students feeling comfortable in discussing issues of computers in education to the point that many students join committees relating to technology implementation in their respective school districts. The privacy of the professor's comments to students' conversations supports each person stating ideas with equal status - not just a 'carbon' of the professor's ideas. It facilitates the perspective of professor-to-students intereaction as well as student-to-student interaction in a neutral setting - much more neutral perhaps than in traditional college classroom settings.

Estimate the probable costs associated with this practice: 

Not to speak lightly, but cost is professor time

Contact(s) for this Effective Practice
Effective Practice Contact: 
Donna Rogers