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Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity in BeachBoard

Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity with Discussion Board

  • Encourage students to introduce and share a little about themselves at the beginning of the term.
  • Use Discussions to provide peer feedback. Students can attach a paper (Word document), presentation (PowerPoint document), or link to a personal homepage via Discussions, and the rest of the class can comment on it within a certain time period.
  • Set up a forum for general and/or technical questions.  Create a forum for social discussions and name it Cyber Café or Water Cooler. 
  • Post frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you've received from previous students at the start of your course to prevent a lot of repeat messages from your new students wishing to know the same information. This will save you time and assuage anxious students, preparing everyone to focus on course content.
  • Rotate members of small groups to provide students with interaction with many different people.  You may want to group students based on their level of participation so that groups contain a mix of avid participators as well as more hesitant students.
  • Articulate expectations for participation - what qualifies as active participation?  Provide students with examples or a rubric.  Set clear guidelines and ground rules so that students understand proper "netiquette."
  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion, participate regularly in the forum, and be a positive role model.
  • Start discussions and offer structure, yet allow room for students to talk to each other rather than read an instructor-dominated "lecture." 
  • Consider making regular participation in discussions count toward the final grade.

Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity using Email

  • You can use Email to deliver your feedback on assignments, discussion participation, and quizzes. Your students will then have a written record of the feedback to refer to when studying and working on future projects.
  • Encourage a student who is not becoming involved in the class interaction.
  • Send an Email message to each student as they log in to the course.  This gives the course a more personal feel and welcomes the student to the online environment.

Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity with Collaboration/Chat

  • Hosting an introductory chat session to get to know students and orient them to the chat environment.  During this practice session, the instructor sets expectations for future chat sessions.
  • Assigning small study groups (about 4-5 students), and letting students know that Chat is a convenient way to study together without having to leave their dorms or homes.
  • Holding "office hours." The real-time component of Chat lets instructors clarify information quickly and effectively.
  • Inviting a guest speaker.  The "anywhere" aspect of Chat allows instructors to bring in a person that would otherwise be unavailable.  An expert may come to an online class and answer questions prepared ahead of time by the students.  Students can research the guest by visiting relevant websites and formulate questions to be forwarded to the guest speaker before the session. 
  • Conducting an online exam review.  If the group is large, set clear ground rules up front, such as limiting response length or requiring that students "raise their hands" by typing an "A" or other symbol if they wish to answer.

Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity with Announcements

  • Post a welcome message for the first week of the term.
  • Remind the students of key assignment due dates, quizzes, events and course milestones
  • Change the announcements regularly to keep students alert to course happenings.  This also encourages them to revisit and read the homepage.

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