Tag Archives: Discussion Questions

The value of discussion forums

Some research on what makes for a successful discussion forum. The most interesting data point:

“…the practice of asking students to post a comment to introduce themselves correlated with more-robust discussions. When professors asked for introductions, students posted an average of 25 comments per term, compared with 9.5 comments per term in other courses.”



Evaluating Discussion Activity

Sample Evaluation Rubric for Grading Discussion Activity

Adapted from the Guide to Rating Integrative and Critical Thinking, Washington State University, Fall 2006

Engages in the following (one point for each area for total possible points of 10):
Identifies problem, question, or issue
Considers context and assumptions
Develops own position or hypothesis
Presents and analyzes supporting data
Integrates other perspectives
Identifies conclusions and implications
Communicates effectively
Respects others viewpoints
Responds in timely manner
Incorporates personal experiences
Total Points Earned:



Source:  http://jolt.merlot.org/vol6no2/alexander_0610.htm

How to Write Great Discussion Questions

Discussion questions promote direct student involvement in the course content, ensuring active learning and spurring critical thinking. The same rules apply to online learning that apply to the classroom. Good questions are:

  • open-ended
  • clearly stated
  • relevant
  • conversation stimulators

Dietz-Uhler & Lanter (2009) created the “four-questions technique” to foster analyzing, reflecting, relating, and questioning:

  1. Analyzing: Identify one important concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology that you learned while completing this activity.
  2. Reflecting: Why do you believe that this concept, research finding, theory, or idea in psychology is important?
  3. 3.     Relating: Apply what you have learned from this activity to some aspect of your life.
  4. Questioning: What question(s) has the activity raised for you?  What are you still wondering about?