Online forum – only a few students participate

A faculty member is working with me on one session of his course which will be given online asynchronously. He is concerned about the lack of involvement of his second-year students in class and wants to make sure they will view the course material before working in groups on a 90-minute case study. The professor opens a forum on the learning management system (Blackboard Learn) and is ready to answer questions during the 90-minute period the day of the activity. Only a few students participate in the forum. He is not sure what to do for future improvement.

Might preparing a quiz for a pre-class reading be worth trying?

Ask about student level of comfort with the technology and timing.

Assigning a leader to be the first post can be a good way to get them started.

Assigning grades to engage and motivate students online.

Show them how to do this. Sometimes it is just a matter of not knowing how (might be applicable to instructor and possibly students too.)

Guidelines and expectations (do a needs assessment with students?)

Have you considered revisiting the expectations of the online course? (Was it always online, or moved from face-to-face, if the latter, did it work well that way?)

What does the professor do to engage students? Modeling questions/providing scaffolding to facilitate an activity might be just what they need.


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