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Watch one of ANE’s terrific science teacher certification students, Rose Chaffee, talk about and demonstrate how to rock the classroom:

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Most of us have participated in a course—either as a student or instructor—that required online discussions. Just as can happen when classes meet face-to-face, some discussions take off and others fall flat. In eLearn Magazine, Richard Dool offers insight into ensuring that online course discussions are productive opportunities for learning.

The “dialogue intensive” model is built around the notion that much of the learning occurs with active instructor-student and student-student interaction. An initial discussion question is posed as a foundation, and as students respond and the instructor engages the discussion is extended through the sharing of professional experiences, personal insights, and other source materials. It is not atypical in a dialogue-intensive model for a week’s unit to have 150-plus postings in a 10-student class.

Dool emphasizes the need for both faculty and students to acknowledge that quality counts as much as quantity of postings in online discussions. He offers one example of a quality posting rubric:

A quality posting has several characteristics. It is germane, succinct, and clear, ideally less than 150 words. It refers to the course material in an appropriate manner and also may make use of relevant outside material. Its main point or thesis is further supported by an example or experience that helps translate the application of the material. It adds or extends the discussion.

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