Course 1 Discussion Question #1

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    • #21890
      Katie Holloway
      In your own words, answer the following…
      • Describe at least 2 design elements of effective online programs that you feel you are missing  (or are not reaching their potential) in your online program approach.  If implemented in your program, how might the elements improve program success and learning outcomes.

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    • #24223
      Roxie Carroll

      Of the 8 design elements, I am not using #5, a Visual Calendar, or #6, the Discussion Forum, to their full potential. The Visual Calendar is something that I should provide my students. I use Blackboard Collaborate, and I always have an image with materials related to the day lesson showing while we wait for class to begin. I use it like a “bulletin board.” I think that this would be a good time to include a visual calendar, after explaning it to the students, of course.
      We haven’t implemented the BlackBoard Learns component of the LMS. I am hoping that we eventually use it, so both the students and I can stay in one virtual space and take advantage of the Discussion Forum there. We do use Google Classroom some, but not enough. The very bad reason for that is that I had not set it as a design element with any requirements, and without the requirements the participation is quite low. My students seem to respond more by sending everything to me in an e-mail without discussing it with others. However, I am remorsefully ashamed that I have not implemented the Discussion Forum more, especially since the very nature of what I am teaching right not relies on communication (ESL).

      • #24231
        Shelia Hall

        I would like to implement 5-8  and use those strategies effectively. I believe these are the missing links to in teaching. The students need to have more visual and communicate more to the teachers and to their peers.

        • #24478
          Brianna Gillis

          I haven’t used discussion forums or visual calendars either and plan to implement them both.  I know discussion forums will help engage my students and improve my online classes.  We have begun using Blackboard Collaborate recently and I think that would be a great way to implement the visual calendars.  Great suggestion!

          • #24796
            Ericka Reid

            I want to learn how to use discussion forums more effectively. I think the key is guiding the students on how to respond to the questions. Typically students only want to respond in one or two sentences in my class. I want them to expand their writing skills more to help them on the written portion of the GED test.

            • #24850
              Lauran Willard

              I totally agree that it is important to show students how to appropriately respond to discussion forums.

        • #24600

          Oh, I love that idea of using the visual calendar as a bulletin board at the beginning of your Collaborate class. That would be a great time for the students to make notes of anything they need to remember for the upcoming week. I do believe that I will implement this during my Collaborate sessions also. Thanks for a great idea!!!

        • #24656
          Amy Denney


          We are currently writing our BB course curriculum, and we have placed discussion forums in each weekly module. However, I love the idea of a community forum and need to find out how to incorporate that into our curriculum. Allowing students to post something that doesn’t require any “brain” activity, but allows them to feel successful and engaged, is so important.

          • #24668
            Brianna Gillis

            I agree, Amy.  I have also begun using BB, but have not incorporated the community forum and think this will be great for my class to interact and have discussions about things other than classwork.  I am looking forward to implementing this soon!

          • #24829
            Kevin Sharpton

            I agree with Amy, as well. Thank you, Amy, for adding your reply to this discussion forum.

            Providing a Community Forum upfront as part of a course’s introductory activity could be done to provide students with the opportunity to take the online Discussion Forum communication aspect part of a Bb course for a test spin. That could be used as a soft way to assess that everyone understands the mechanics, without the pressure of an academic assignment.

          • #25370
            Sylvie Archer

            Hey, Jackie,

            You’re spot on. Having insight into the next discussion topics will promote a sense of responsibility to the students to be prepared for the upcoming lesson(s). In that way, they can be proactive. Moreover, it is also a challenge for the instructor to be prepared for any questions that may arise from the lesson–just like an attorney preparing for court.

        • #24663
          James Owens

          Hey Sheila,

          I think that we need to try to find ways to set up a calendar and follow the path with our students.  In the beginning, it will be a bit labor intensive but once it is set up, it will make our time more efficient and give us the practical way forward with students’ learning and interaction patterns.  Like us, they are creatures of habit and will like the structure and known expectations.

        • #24780
          Honoray Ard

          Hi Sheila,

          I agree with you 100%.  I think that working it out on the front end will prove to be a bit much especially with all that’s going on, but I do feel as if i will be worth it for the students and ourselves.  It certainly will add clarity for student progression.

        • #25368
          Sylvie Archer

          I am in total agreement with you on the key elements you chose. I share the same sentiments. Employing a visual calendar will mitigate any issues with scheduling and student and faculty expectations. Moreover, the discussion forums will provide a medium through which we can gain deeper insight into their ideologies as they pertain to the class, syllabus, and subject matter being taught. Furthermore, they will also be able to gauge the similarities and differences between the way they think and that of their peers.

      • #24347
        Laura Sanabria

        Hi Roxie,

        I finally got on BB Collaborate using Chrome. It  was a problem with my outdated version and later a problem with the cache. First hurdle overcome.

        Students have had some technical issues with getting kicked out of BB. I have not personally, but I believe you mentioned you’d experienced the same problem.

        I have a question about using 2 applications at the same time in BB. Is it possible to listen to the sound from a YouTube video while visualizing on screen a word document? My class is listening to A Secret Garden while reading the text at the same time. It is possible to do this using Webex, but I haven’t figured out how to do this in BB….. yet.

        • #24402

          Great question about using two different applications in BB.  I have wondered the same thing.

          • #24543
            Roxie Carroll

            Yes, they can. I’ve played YouTube for the audio while working on other things. There is also a shared camera component available, but I haven’t tried BB with multiple screens.  This isn’t related to audio from YouTube, but Mrs. Tina brought me a lady bug to try out on BB. I might find some time to see how it works this week.

            I’m glad you got the glitches worked out, Laura.  And, yes, BB is notorious for kicking off my night students.

            • #24664
              James Owens


              I have also had this problem with specific students.  I am also in doubt if it has anything to do with their internet speed at home or browser (firefox/chrome/edge).  Hopefully this can be resolved.  It only happens to specific students and it is regular.

            • #24789
              Laura Sanabria

              You know Briana, the questions they have are not earthshattering. It just gives them comfort to be able to reach you. I had a session with a student that wanted me to correct her writing. She felt almost as if she was imposing on me. They have to get used to this new access.

              • #24799
                Brianna Gillis

                I totally agree Laura.  They have to get use to it.

            • #24790
              Laura Sanabria


              Ladybug does work well with BB Collaborate. It works even better in BB than in Webex. So that is the upside. I still have to figure out how to use YouTube in the background while displaying a word document on the BB screen.

        • #24583
          Joan Duffie

          I agree Briana, I am anxious about using Blackboard. I have no hands on training just Webexs.  Looking forward to working with you on learning more about Blackboard.

          • #24669
            Brianna Gillis

            I look forward to learning more about Blackboard and working with you too.  My students are enjoying the interaction.

          • #28164
            Allison Holmes

            Laura ,

            I’m glad to see the Lady Bug works well for you.  I too am exploring means to use YouTube for background while displaying content activity in the Bb Collaborate setting.  Let’s keep each other posted.

      • #24476
        Brianna Gillis

        Two design elements that are missing from my online class are discussion forums and visual calendars.  We have begun to use Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate in my program recently, but we have not had discussion forums or provided visual calendars.  I feel that the discussion forums will provide the “psychological accountability” and provide that sense of belonging that our learners need.  I will definitely implement the different types of discussion forums including community forums and question forums.  I will also use a visual calendar to show what is expected each week for a “consistent learning path”.  By providing both the discussion forum and visual calendar, I feel that my online approach will be more successful by engaging my students more and keeping them informed.

        • #24617
          mike mallette

          Don’t know much about visual calendar….Will be checking into this as well

          • #24676
            Peggy Wilson

            Brianna, I agree that discussion forums are useful in creating a  sense of belonging and “psychological accountability”  which are so often lacking in online courses.  I want to start a collection of good discussion forum prompts to use in my classes.

        • #24875
          Philandria Williams

          Yes, discussion forums are great for student interaction and accountability.

      • #24580
        Joan Duffie

        The two design elements that are missing are 5&8. Students need to see and interact with one another in order to become a good learner.  I have always learned more when I am in a group setting and I can inter-act with the teacher and other students.  I need to see the students and determine what I need to go back over based on body language and facial expressions. A WeBex is a good tool to use, because I could really implement design elements 5 & 8 and watch my students soar!

        • #24602

          I agree, Brianna. Keeping our students engaged and motivated is key to keeping them in our program. So many of our students become discouraged and they ultimately drop out of the program, so anything we can offer them that will raise their motivation an engagement in the program is well worth doing!!!

        • #24781
          Honoray Ard

          Hey Joan,

          I agree with you as it pertains to student interaction. I think it promotes a sense of collaborative mindsets. How do you encourage adult learners to actively participate with all that’s currently going on?

        • #24797
          Ericka Reid

          I agree! I believe once the students learn they can lean on each other and communicate with the teacher they feel more confident in their abilities. In BB collaborate I try to make sure they discuss even math questions. It has helped them learn concepts quicker.

      • #24599

        I am currently not using consistent coaching or a visual calendar. I do use Blackboard Collaborate, but I only have it scheduled to use as a group meeting. I like the idea of using Collaborate as a coaching tool, especially since some students are more timid and insecure to ask for needed help in a group of their peers. Some students also need more assistance than others and a coaching session would be a great place to implement that. As far as a visual calendar, that will help the students and myself keep up with events that are upcoming.

      • #24681
        Mary Baxter

        Our students would benefit from receiving more progress feedback from instructors. They receive verbal feedback during class, but they are not given progress reports during the week. Our instructors could use the reports from our asynchronous learning platforms as a metric for providing better feedback and help motivate students to continue learning. We do not use visual calendars in our program. Implementing a visual calendar would be especially beneficial for our ESL students because it would be understandable by all levels and provide a reference point for class engagement.

        • #24683
          Mary Baxter

          Great ideas. Collaborate is a helpful resource because you can schedule both synchronous classes and office hours. You can also have an open course room that students can join anytime.

        • #24881
          Philandria Williams

          Mary, progress reports would definitely give students a visual of their progression through the ESL lessons.

      • #24761
        Sara Mercer

        I have the discussion forum built into some of my work on Blackboard, but I really don’t use it as I should.  I just remember one of the training session presenters said we should be using it so I stuck it in there.  I should allow students to use it and interact more and give them more of a voice and presence in class.

      • #24851
        Lauran Willard

        I never thought about using the visual calendar as a bulletin board. Great idea.

      • #24863
        Shawanda Cannon

        There a lot of the designs elements I would like to use but the two design elements that are missing from my online class are discussion forums and visual calendars. We are using WebEx now and no one of those elements are on WebEx. We have one instructor that has begun to use Blackboard Collaborate in my program recently, but we have not had discussion forums or provided visual calendars. I think these two elements will help the students.

      • #28162
        Allison Holmes

        The two design elements I use the least, at this time, are:

        Visual Calendar

        Discussion Forum

        I plan to utilize both elements weekly as our program transitions to Blackboard with Content Courses.  I appreciate the structure provided by the 8 Design Elements and will be intentional about consistently following a definite Learning Path comprised of the 8 elements.


    • #24230
      Shelia Hall

      Once I get use to blackboard, I would like to make 5-8 is use effectively. I believe these are the missing links in face to face and online learning.

      • #28163
        Allison Holmes

        Addendum:  These elements will help instructors and students to maintain focus on the instruction by pacing (calendar) and having the opportunity to “discuss” the learning as it occurs and in a less intimidating setting.

    • #24346
      Laura Sanabria

      An office schedule #7  and  a visual calendar#5  are missing from my teaching environment. I’m anxious to start implementing these tips because I believe they could make a significant contribution to students’ comfort level.

      This week I  announced a day and time slot that I will be available to students so they can sort out problems and questions.  They sounded quite pleased to hear that they’d have personal access to me and meet in a separate time frame from class.

      • #24401

        I know it is a comfort to your students that they have personal access to you.  I think that is what they fear most about online learning—their personal experience with their instructor.  Sounds like you are doing a GREAT job 🙂

        • #24480
          Brianna Gillis

          I agree Laura and Paula.  I have recently implemented office hours with Blackboard Collaborate to provided coaching sessions and answer questions. It is working great and my students are enjoying the one on one interaction.  My online students have been missing the interaction and I’m excited to be able to offer consistent mentoring sessions.

          • #24544
            Roxie Carroll

            I haven’t implemented “office hours.” I’m not sure how to work the schedule, since I’m only a part-time instructor. I think we are going on 12 weeks in this semester already, and I don’t want to change the schedule right now.  That being said, I might carve out a bit of time for this in the next semester schedule.

            • #24558
              Sophia Azhar

              Great idea! We work a split schedule so it is difficult to have office hours but I will have to work it into my schedule.

          • #24616
            mike mallette

            we have discussed office hours as we design our blackboard classes…truly like this!!!

        • #24671
          Peggy Wilson

          Communication is definitely important!  I have heard students share discouraging statements about the lack of communication with their instructors.  It makes them feel out of sight and out of mind.

      • #24581
        Joan Duffie

        I agree Sheila, excited and ready to use Blackboard

      • #24762
        Sara Mercer

        Office hours have been beneficial to my students as well.  I thought, at first, that they wouldn’t use them because they can talk to me after or before class.  I was wrong.  They like more time.  They don’t have to rush off.  They know where I am if they think of something they need to know/ask.

    • #24400

      As we are beginning to use Blackboard, I think #1 (sprints) will help the anxiety of the instructors with this new forum of teaching.  I think they can also use #4 (flash reviews) for repetition and #5 (static changes) for sustained engagement.

      • #24765
        Shaquanna Tuck

        Paula, I agree that state changes would definitely be effective for sustained engagement especially in the online format.

        • #28165
          Allison Holmes

          Yes, state changes are “pleasant’ surprises for students.  We are so task-driven these days we sometimes forget to mix it up some times.  I do use it but plan to do so more frequently and intentionally.  Thanks for the reminder :0)

    • #24557
      Sophia Azhar

      I do not use #3 Sprint which I believe will help my learners.  I usually go for about 50 minutes and then take a break.  I will start breaking my material into smaller 15 -20 minutes chunks and take a short break and go for another 15 minutes.

      I also do not use discussion forums.  I have a google classroom page but students usually don’t post on it.  I usually post information on it about the assignments.  I will encourage or maybe require my students to comment and reply to posts weekly.

      • #24635
        Brianna Gillis

        Sophia, I have been using sprints in my class and it’s working great!

      • #24872
        Chasidy Parks


        I agree with Brianna, a sprint is a easy way to chunk out material to students. I think your students will enjoy it.

    • #24615
      mike mallette

      we have just started basic online classes with Blackboard…..very basic….But I do see a very big need for the discussion forum when we get started more….. Discussion forum would be a place for students as well as teachers to interact remotely…..will make sure to have this in our plan…..

    • #24655
      Amy Denney

      In our online courses at Chatt Tech, our teachers are not using an office schedule or a visual calendar. Since I am a visual person, I think the idea of a visual calendar for our students would be very helpful to goal setting and persistence. Furthermore, the office schedule will allow our virtual learns to know when to contact instructors. This will be harder to implement with our part-time instructors, but I think it can be done.

    • #24660
      James Owens

      The two Design Elements that are least utilized by my program are Consistent Learning Path and Discussion Boards.

      The Consistent Learning Path implements checkpoints and discussion board questions and these are elements that have not been used before by myself or instructors in the program.

      The Discussion boards also have not been used as we are rolling out Blackboard Ultra and have just recently begun taking advantage of the technology.

      By adding these elements to the structure of our classes, we can increase retention and participation levels in our virtual classes.  This may also help bring the virtual students in with live students by having discussions and increased enrollment and engagement.

      • #24682
        Mary Baxter

        Amy, we also have part-time instructors and I agree that it is hard to add extra office hours and assignments to instructors with so little time. This is where administrators can step in and help create some of these materials on behalf of instructors so they have more time for teaching and office hours.


    • #24670
      Peggy Wilson

      Two of the design elements that I need to implement or  improve upon are an Online Learning Path and a Visual Calendar.  Just as familiarity makes any path easier to navigate, the Online Learning Path should help students quickly navigate to the task for the day. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Visual Calendar can communicate a lot in a quick glance!   Both a path and a calendar simplify the online process and allow the student to focus on the lesson content and mastery of skills.

    • #24759
      Sara Mercer

      I do not use sensory cues at all.  That is something I need to work on.  I definitely don’t use state change strategy.  I don’t think about it.  We move around often in class, but not in online classes.  I need to work on them and keep them awake.

      • #24766
        Shaquanna Tuck

        I agree we all need to try some new things.

      • #25313
        Annette Merier

        I believe it will be awkward at first implementing the cues but I think that the students (and I) will get used to it.  I already have them answer/reply to questions in chat but I need to add a few more ideas.

    • #24764
      Shaquanna Tuck

      I personally feel that all the design elements could be more effectively implemented in our online program. For starters, “Sprints” would require that as an instructor, we take a lesson plan and convert it to mini lessons which would probably keep the student more engaged and able to digest new skills on a bite-size bases. Second, I could implement more “state changes” even if simply by having students stand up, show a funny video, play some music, to create that change. I believe the student’s attention will be more focused and if their minds do wander a state change would help them to quickly return to the lesson being taught.

    • #24779
      Honoray Ard


      I haven’t used a discussion forum or visual calendar. I think this will help increase communication as well as give more directions on goal completion for students and myself.

    • #24794
      Ericka Reid

      Two effective learning paths that could be useful would be sprints and visual calendars. I recently began to use visual calendars and use the two weeks method. This has already started to help my students this week with practicing their subjects more.

      I routinely have plans to have sprint lessons in class. However, they seem to fall flat with the execution. I need to figure out how to plan effectively where these sprint lessons will help the students and I can determine if the students are comprehending the material.

    • #24849
      Lauran Willard

      I have not used the visual calendar or the discussion forum for our platform. I do want to use discussion in the future. I think the discussion would help foster participation from those students who are shy to speak up in class.

    • #24869
      Chasidy Parks

      I have not used visual calendar and discussion post before. We did create discussion forum to help with GA BEST discussion in each lesson in the Blackboard course. However, we have not used them before. I have excited to see how it will effect student engagement online.

    • #24874
      Philandria Williams

      I am missing an office schedule and calendar. An office schedule gives students an appropriate time to contact the instructor instead of it being “open” for whenever. The calendar provides a visual representation of the outline for the course. I am not teaching at the moment, but I am excited to implement these elements in the future.

      • #25314
        Annette Merier

        I plan to implement an office schedule also.  Maybe then my students won’t email or text me at 11 pm on a Saturday night and expect a reply in a few minutes.  (Although, I do try to respond as soon as I can anyway.)

    • #25312
      Annette Merier

      The elements that I am missing are the Discussion Forum and a consistent learning path.

      I teach math and am finding it hard to have a discussion forum in math.  The students are resistant to the idea of writing in math class.  I am also struggling to find questions that will stimulate a meaningful and helpful discussion about math.

      I am new to creating an online class and I haven’t gotten the consistent learning path down yet.  I do some of the some of the same activities each week but I often change or vary them.  Hopefully,  after this course, I will be able to have a clear, consistent path for my students.

    • #25367
      Sylvie Archer

      I would definitely say the visual calendar and the discussion forum since we as a program have not yet established a full-blown Blackboard forum within which students can actively login in and engage in asynchronous learning. Once we officially launch Blackboard Learn for our students, faculty, and staff alike, I am confident that we will all benefit from all the eight (8) elements, the aforementioned in particular.

    • #25383
      Zina Matthews-Holmes

      Out of all of the design elements, I’ve not implemented the Visual Calendar or the Discussion Forum.  Much to my chagrin, my BlackBoard is not fully functional. My students are not able to access their accounts in BlackBoard to participate in a discussion form.  Once their accounts are activated and have full use of it, I can implement these two strategies.  (Subtly I’m getting them ready for their next level, college or technical school)

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