Setting up different types of Discussions

The FMS TEL team recently delivered a webinar: Getting the most out of your discussion boards. If you can’t access the FMS TEL Canvas community, please enrol yourself before retrying the direct link.

As a follow up to that webinar we have created follow along video guides and step by step written instructions on how to make the ideas and suggestions a reality. Our guides cover:


Voting and Polls ✅

These can be set up in around 2 minutes and no external tools are required. Students can quickly share their opinions or provide feedback in a similar format to Social Media.

Discussion Folders ?

Is your modules area looking cluttered? Organise your discussions into folders so they are easy to navigate.

Sharing Group Discussions ?‍?‍?‍?

Group discussions in Canvas can be a great option however they have the disadvantage of only group members being able to see what was contributed. If your course would benefit from groups being able to share with other groups after the task then we have 2 solutions for you.

Multiple Posting Points ??

Some courses may require students to share personal experiences. In this guidance we offer a solution for student to choose if they post to the whole cohort or just to the Teachers on the course.

Anonymous Posts ft. Padlet ❔

Currently Canvas does not allow anonymous posts. To get around this limitation we can create boards using an External Tool Padlet and embed Anonymous Padlet Boards within Canvas and the MLE.


Planning Learning

As part of my own research to pass on to colleagues, I recently attended a Future Learn course “How to Teach Online” where this planning tool was demonstrated. I thought colleagues may find it to be of interest.

Learning Designer helps you plan different types of activities for your students. It allows you to organise a blend of online and face to face activity. These are called TLAs, or Teaching and Learning Activities. There are 6 different types to choose from

  • Read, watch, listen
  • Collaborate
  • Discuss
  • Investigate
  • Practice
  • Produce

You can add resources such as links to videos and websites.

It produces a helpful pie chart showing the proportion of activities the students will experience.

You can download your plan as a word document or share it with a link.

Have a go with the Learning Designer Tool yourself at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/learning-designer/designer.php (Links to an external site.)  The video below talks you through how to use it.

More information is available on the Learning Designer Website https://www.ucl.ac.uk/learning-designer/index.php (Links to an external site.) 

A User Guide is also available at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/learning-designer/guide/

Randomness

As part of our Humanising the Online Experience webinar, we suggested the use of name selectors to take the decision-making out of selecting a student to answer a question. We recommend you use this only when you have gotten to know your students well enough to know how they respond to being asked questions by name. Using a randomiser tool can also reduce the feeling that the teacher is ‘picking on’ a particular student too often – both for the teacher and the students!

There are a lot of online tools available, such as:

The slight hitch with using these is that they are not reusable – you need to paste the names in every session.

It’s possible to create one of these yourself using Excel, which you can then save and re-use for the class time and again. A 2-minute tutorial for this, and an example file, is available on the FMS TEL Canvas Community. If you haven’t got access to that community in your Canvas yet, first enroll here.

Of course, you can use these tools for more than just selecting names. You could use this to randomly assign cases for students to study, or assign group roles. You can use them to generate lists of anything in a random order by noting outcomes.

During icebreaker games or other tasks, you may want to try a heads-or-tails or dice-roll randomiser, and there are many other randomising tools available on Random.org.