Originally Published In
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Discussion forums are a primary tool for interactions in the online classroom. Discussions are a critical part of the learning process for students, and instructor facilitation should reflect this importance. Effective instructor discussion facilitation encourages students, provides evidence and analysis and links the discussion to subsequent discourse. However, instructors receive little guidance in strategies to meet these expectations. To fill this gap, the REEAL Model is presented to support faculty in developing appropriate discussion responses. In addition, a transcript analysis technique is described which can be used as part of a faculty development program to ensure faculty have appropriate skills and background. The outcome of the process is faculty who are comfortable and confident developing discussion postings that align to learning outcome, provide meaningful, and facilitate ongoing conversation.