Google Docs, Blackboard blogs, and class discussion
I have been teaching online for several years and one class activity which I have continually struggled with is the way to host a productive asynchronous class discussion. I believe (and have personally experienced terrific synchronous online discussions) but asynchronous online discussions bring more baggage (impediments?) with them. Some of those impediments are shared with any discussion or in fact are minimized online. It is a lot harder to hide the fact you haven’t done your reading or other preparation in online posts, for example. One aspect that I have always liked is that in an asynchronous discussion students generally come to the discussion fresh from the reading and often approach the reading fresh from my prompt or instruction. All too often, my experience in traditional classes has been that reading and discussion are separated in space and time which does not foster successful discussion. All that explanation is to establish that I believe in the possibilities of online discussion, but that it (as so often is the case in teaching) often does not live up to my expectations or hopes.
Read the full post on my Metawriting blog: Google Docs, Blackboard blogs, and class discussion