During module studies
1. Have a presence in the discussion boards
Be the first to visit any shared online learning space informally, leaving a short welcoming greeting and quickly departing. Model frank, informal and helpful interactions as a norm. This can be particularly useful on discussion boards. Short open-ended posts from the tutor are needed here, not heavily referenced academic jargon. Make effective use of gentle questions, perhaps in the third person to avoid it seeming like a tutor’s challenge: “Eilidh wonders how you could justify that opinion>” And certainly don’t establish a school-teacher persona by making corrections. If someone starts a sentence with a preposition on a discussion board does it really matter? Think about how over-correcting might alter your own engagement with a discussion. If someone gets something wrong in terms of content matter, gently correct them as a fellow student might do: “This doesn’t seem to be quite what Dewey was advocating in xxxx”
Example: Jean created a discussion board for each week of her course. She gave a clear indication at the start of each thread to guide the discussion. E.g. ‘Watch the video ]hyperlink] (3:40), watching the body language of the student. How is the student feeling? How might you advise the tutor?’ At the end of each week her PhD student themed the comments and Jean filmed a short conversation between her and her PhD student in response to these. As her confidence grew, she asked other members of staff to join her for these discussions. This was very highly rated by the students who found the summaries useful and inclusive.