With all the tools available, should we even still use the old discussion board built in to our LMSs? I do. Not always or in every class, but often. My main goal for students in all of my classes is to learn to recognize how things are not just how they are, they’re how we’ve made them. My goal if for them to see how the status quo is created, maintained, and challenged. Often I think of this in terms of content (what we read), but what about our assignments? How am I checking on their ability to generate questions about the world and challenge our constructions of “normal”?
When I first started teaching, I gave very simple multiple-choice reading quizzes. While this is not necessarily bad practice, it wasn’t critical at all. I then started requiring students to use the discussion board to discuss the readings. But when thoughtful, analytical discussions didn’t always spring up naturally, I began to create discussion questions for them – directing them to answer the types of analytical questions they should be learning to ask on their own instead of actually helping them build that skill. Learning how to ask interrogating and analytical questions is learning to be a critical thinker.(more…)