Facilitate meaningful learner-learner interactions – A University of Waikato study looked into what students expect from their peers when communicating in an online discussion forum for learning purposes. Students placed most emphasis on three simple behaviours that tutors could encourage:
- Active participation – join discussions promptly and only post relevant comments
- Direct address – use people’s names when you respond to them (this personalises the interaction and signals active listening)
- Brevity – keep comments short, to avoid dominating the discussion.
Teach online as if you are in the room – this article offers these simple ideas to ensure a safe, comfortable and productive online learning session.
Don’t forget the whakawhanaungatanga – build and sustain relationships, make sure you’re the first online and the last to leave, give everyone a voice.
Give time for the necessary Mohiotanga – spend time checking that everyone knows how to work with the online tool you’re using.
Support Maramatanga – make sure everyone understands the purpose of the session, and they know what to expect.
Encourage Kotahitanga – include activities that encourage a sense of unity.
- This research, Online Social Connectedness: A Grounded Theory, provides an in-depth understanding on how online social connectedness is manifested amongst students engaged in an online learning.
- Try these three simple behaviours (active participation, direct address, and brevity) to understand and encourage what students want from each other. See the Student Expectations of Peers in Academic Asynchronous Online Discussion.
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