Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum (ECAC)
Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) ECAC Home
Donna Reiss
Active Learning Online
Faculty Workshop Activity

Design an Electronic Discussion
  • Using ideas we explored in this workshop, compose an assignment for an interactive online activity that will enhance learning for either a class that meets face to face or for a distance or distributed class.
  • To encourage cooperative and collaborative learning and to support student-to-student interaction, include in your design at least two online posts by each student, one of which requires them to respond to classmates. You can assign small groups or a whole class discussion. You can identify topics for discussion broadly or specifically.
  • Identify the class you are designing the assignment for, and write step-by-step directions for students to follow on their own, emphasizing the content that supports learning rather than the technology. Make explicit for students all of the following that are relevant:
      1. Purpose (how assignment fits class goals)
      2. Information to include in their online posts (concepts, examples, references)
      3. Type of discourse appropriate for this assignment (informal, formal, documented or not)
      4. Audience (classmates/peers/teacher/others)
      5. Length and scope (words, pages, number and type of graphics, sources)
      6. Submission formats, media, and methods (subject lines, dates, names, webpages, powerpoint slides, cd, blog, discussion board)
      7. Assessment criteria (credit? grade?)
      8. Submission deadlines (important for interaction)


ECAC Home | Active Learning Online
for educational purposes only
developed and copyright ©1996 by
D. Reiss
modified and copyright ©24 February 2005 by
D. Reiss