ETEC 648 Session 10- Executive Summary

Evaluating Online Discussions of Elementary School Students

My project can be viewed at https://www.rusdlearns.net/gcaudill/onlinediscussions/.

online discussions discussion prompts Executive Summary

My project is a class that I created on our district LMS, Haiku, for my students to have online discussions. I can integrate the discussions onto our class Haiku page, but I decided to create a separate class for the purposes of this project and for the privacy of my students. The major component of my project was creating a way to assess the work that my students do on the discussion board. I decided that a rubric was the best way to assess and grade their discussion posts. This rubric will be used by my sixth grade team to grade online discussions by our students. Just this year, our sixth grade students have a one-to-one technology ratio and we have been looking for the best practices of integrating technology into our traditional elementary classrooms.

The research shows that online discussion boards are an excellent way to have students express themselves and discuss their thoughts with their classmates as they engage in their learning and use the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy as they write their posts. The best part is that they can continue the discussion even outside of our classroom. We also have a written record that we can refer back to, which we do not have when we have a regular classroom discussion. As the instructor, I have learned that it is important for me to be an active participant in the discussion so that my students are aware of my instructional presence. Students will analyze, argue, assess, make claims, conclude, discuss, provide evidence, justify, summarize, and support their online discussion posts with relevant information. We will continue to have traditional classroom discussions, but this is one way to start flipping our classrooms with online discussions that are carefully planned with carefully created questions that will extend their learning. I chose to focus on social studies and our current topic of the Ancient Hebrews because I want my students to delve deeper into the subject by answering the discussion questions that came from resources that our district provided to us to use as we teach this unit.

I started my project not knowing whether I would use a Google document to have an online discussion that all of my students could participate in, or if I should use our district LMS, Haiku, to have these discussions. I tried both and decided that Haiku was an easier way to hold a discussion. The Google document worked well, but it had a few issues when all of my students were typing in the document at the same time. Creating the rubric was an overwhelming process because I had to be selective about what categories I wanted to include on it. I narrowed it down to three categories: original post, engagement, and writing conventions. I used our district writing rubric as a guideline because it is what we use to score the writing of our students.

Guidelines

 These are the guidelines for participation in online discussions:

  1. Original Post- The week starts on Monday and you need to respond to the discussion question or questions no later than Tuesday. Make sure that you complete the assigned reading before you write your post and that you include supporting evidence in your response to the discussion question. If you need to do more research on the topic, do so and include the reference in your post.
  2. Engagement- Respond to your classmates’ original posts and respond to the comments that your classmates write on your post throughout the week. It is important that you are polite and give positive feedback. You may ask questions that ask for clarification if there is something that you do not understand. You must write comments on the original post of three of your classmates and respond to all the comments on your original post by Friday.
  3. Writing Conventions- It is important that you use proper grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation in your discussion posts. Remember that this is an academic setting and that you are required to use academic language.

Rubric

This is the rubric that I will use to score their online discussion posts.

  7 to 8 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 5 to 6 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 3 to 4 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 0 to 2 points- Minimal evidence of mastery
Original Post Responds skillfully to all parts of the prompt

Strong use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites a minimum of two sources to support their response

Responds to all parts of the prompt

Organizes ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence and cites at least one source to support their response

Responds to most parts of the prompt

Limited use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Includes supporting evidence, but does not cite the source

Responds to few or no parts of the prompt

Little or no use of organization of ideas, concepts and information

Does not include supporting evidence

Engagement More than 3 posts that integrate supporting evidence such as facts, details, questions, quotations, or examples to make connections and support their responses A minimum of 3 posts that include supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses 2 to 3 posts that include some supporting evidence such as facts, details, quotations, or examples to support their responses Posts do not include supporting evidence
  4 points- Thorough Evidence of Mastery 3 points-Adequate Evidence of Mastery 2 points- Partial Evidence of Mastery 1 point- Minimal evidence of mastery
Writing Conventions Demonstrates exemplary command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (No errors) Demonstrates command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (1-2 errors) Demonstrates limited command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (3-5 errors) Demonstrates insufficient command of grammar, capitalization, punctuation and spelling (6 or more errors)

References

Blackmon, S. J. (2012). Outcomes of chat and discussion board use in online learning: a research synthesis. Journal of Educators Online, 9(2).

Bradley, M. E., Thom, L. R., Hayes, J., & Hay, C. (2008). Ask and you will receive: how question type influences quantity and quality of online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 888–900. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00804.x

McLoughlin, D., & Mynard, J. (2009). An analysis of higher order thinking in online discussions. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 46(2), 147–160. doi:10.1080/14703290902843778

Szabo, Z., & Schwartz, J. (2011). Learning methods for teacher education: the use of online discussions to improve critical thinking. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 79–94. Doi:10.1080/1475939X.2010.534866

Wang, Q., & Woo, H. L. (2007). Comparing asynchronous online discussions and face-to-face discussions in a classroom setting. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 272–286. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2006.00621.x

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