Faculty Development for Engaging in Online Discussion Participation in Higher Education

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Originally Published In

Paper presented at the 9th Annual International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Madrid, Spain.


While emerging technologies have become more commonplace in online learning, the discussion board continues to be a critical component in student learning (Nash, 2011; Vlachopoulos & Cowan, 2010). The literature is replete with research on the effectiveness of online discussion forums (for example, Brinthaupt, Fisher, Gardner, Raffo, & Woodard, 2011; Nandi, Hamilton, Chang, & Balbo, 2012.; Cranney, Wallace, Alexander, & Alfano, 2011). Given this, many institutions have introduced requirements for online faculty to engage in the online discussion forum frequently and substantively. In general, instructors understand that active, meaningful participation in the discussion requires more than a simple, cursory response to a few students and that their role is more critical to the outcome of the exercise (Nash, 2011). However, institutions continually struggle to identify innovative and effective strategies to support faculty in their efforts to meet expectations. (Cariago-Lo, Worthy-Dawkins, Enger, Schotter, & Spence, 2010). In this session, participants will experience a professional development opportunity that can be replicated with faculty to build skills in discussion facilitation. A framework will be introduced as a means to make sense of the overwhelming number of discussion responses posted by students, create relationships among perspectives presented, and ensure that student learning is maximized.