Designing Interaction

Interactions within online courses are typically asynchronous, with the most common form of interaction being the discussion forum. It takes thought and planning to optimize your student’s experience within a discussion forum.

Learn ways to extend learning and save time with online discussions. Within each module/week it is important to identify ways for your students to interact with you, with each other, and with the content.

You may also want to consider holding a “live” session or collaborating with a face-to-face classroom or online course. The Technology Assessment Checklist can help you determine what technology you might need.

Below is a list of the opportunities and challenges associated with common online course interaction tools.

Interaction Tool Opportunities Challenges
Discussion Forums Allows students to connect with peers, practice critical thinking and reflection, easily assessed for both content and peer feedback Text-based and linear, potentially difficult to foster complex interactions, questions must be well-constructed in order to engage students
Synchronous Chat/Conferencing Provides real-time interaction, develops social connections Dependent on high-speed internet connection, not everyone will be comfortable using mic and webcam
Blogs Provides a platform for reflection and metacognition Requires thought and structure to actively engage students
Collaborative Authoring Real-time collaboration, ability to see development over time, able to assess individual contributions Need to provide clear guidelines for assessment
Interactive Visualizations Rapid feedback, ability to see aggregated peer contributions, visualize basic associations Difficult to create visualizations of complex or sophisticated subjects

If you are using a non-Cornell supported tool, please be sure to review the FERPA guidelines.

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