Guidelines for Facilitating Online Discussion

1. Group discussion of online materials

All student groups will engage in discussion of the materials posted on Moodle

  • You will demonstrate your understanding and critical reflections of the online materials, and as relevant you can relate to your personal/school/professional experience.
  • Participate actively by posting your ideas, asking questions, and responding to others’ questions to help each other understand the posted materials (see guidelines on Performance Indicators).
  • You will take turns to be the group leader to facilitate the discussion and to make a group summary.
  • You are required to complete the online discussion before the next session by March 20, 2020. There will be a course participation grade for your online discussion.

2. Sentence openers for online interaction

You are encouraged to use sentence openers for interacting with your classmates to enrich your dialogue and teamwork 

Figure 1. Sentence Openers in Online Forum Discussion

3. Discussion strategies and performance indicators

Orientation and Starting the Discussion

  • Introduce the topic and provide background information   
  • Focus on the question(s) and tasks relevant to key themes 
  • Identify key problems and learning issues 
  • Propose thought-provoking and big questions 

Exploration and Development of Discussion

  • Show thoughtful and logical ideas to address the questions
  • Support statements and arguments using examples/evidence
  • Demonstrate thoughtful engagement using a broad range of concepts
  • Reflect critically and connect experience with theories 
  • Use personal experience to illustrate different concepts 
  • Consider multiple perspectives and provide different viewpoints

Deepening and Consolidation of Discussion

  • Deepen the discussion via asking follow-up questions
  • Compare different ideas and integrate them as possible  
  • Draw conclusions and summarize the discussion points 
  • Consider possible solutions and take-aways addressing the key question 

Collaboration and Communication

  • Participate actively and constructively
  • Show appreciation and be friendly and polite 
  • Build on the ideas from peers to gain a more in-depth understanding
  • Play an active role in moving the discussion forward
  • Contribute in a balanced way and teamwork
  • Use multimedia materials to make the discussion more lively
  • Express ideas clearly for good communication 

Teachers will join the discussion forum and provide some responses to encourage student participation, keep the discussion focused, and help reframe the questions if the discussion is off-topic. However, it is not necessary to provide too detailed feedback to all responses so as to keep the discussion open and for maximizing students’ active roles.  It is helpful to make requirements clear with the allocation of roles, deadlines, and grading arrangement, if any.

Compiled by Anthony Cheng and Carol Chan