Faculty Exchange/Aurea Osgood Discusses Using Discussion Forums

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Aurea Osgood


General Information

  • Audience - All WSU instructors interested in using online discussion forums in their courses.
  • Interview Date - 5/24/2012
  • Tools Used - Desire2Learn Discussion Tool

Meet the Faculty Member

Dr. Aurea Osgood, WSU Professor in Sociology, received her BA in Sociology form Winona State University. She earned her M. A. in Sociology and Ph.D. in Family Sociology and Demography at Bowling Green State University. Aurea has been teaching at Winona State University since 2007. She teaches courses primarily in family sociology (Sociology of Families and Family Roles and Relationships) and social research (Intermediate Social Research). For more detail see her web site here

Viewing the Interview Segments

NOTE: The video segments are temporarily unavailable.

The full interview is divided into six segments. Select play to begin viewing Segment 1. To advance to another segments at any time by using the Next Next button.

Segment Descriptions

  1. Please introduce yourself and the courses you teach. Aurea is in sociology and teaches primarily in the areas of family and research methods.
  2. How are you using discussion forums in your courses? In this segment Aurea describes specifically how she uses the discussion board in a course taught at a distance and with success in this setting she has pulled this into traditionally taught courses.
  3. Please go deeper into the assignment and how your setup discussions. She details here the assignment she uses with this tool and the way she sets course expectations for student participation in the discussion.
  4. Do you have any additional evidence that the discussion activities are effective? Aurea has found that using this tool allows much larger numbers of students to participate in the discussions. The level of reflection has increased and have a deeper level of analysis to their contributions to the conversation. Subsequent in-class session have even more ideas and reflection because of the initial opportunity to initiate the conversation.
  5. What advice would you give to an instructor interested in using discussion forums? I would recommend spending some time working with students on the logistics of how to post.
  6. What role did TLT play in your use of discussion forums? She explains here some of the options you have when integrating this tool in your classes.

Good Practices

Orientate Students: Make sure to show students where and how to post new threads, reply to posts, and add attachments.

Use Discussion as Primmer: By having students participate in discussion forums before class she can bring fringe or introverted students into the conversation and promote creative or alternative perspectives.

Key Outcomes

  • Deeper conversations on more perspectives due to larger numbers of students participating in the discussions and outside class time to think about posts.
  • Students seems to relax more, have fun with their posts, and generally finds ways to express their perspectives more effectively.
  • Use of the discussion forum statistics provide a very powerful way to track and grade student participation.

Related Articles

Learn How to Replicate Aurea's Activity in Your Own Course

Learn More About the D2L Discussion Tool

Learn More About Discussion Technology

Learn More About Facilitating Class Discussion

Learn More About Collaborative Learning

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