Course 1 Discussion Question #2

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    • #21891
      Katie Holloway

      In your own words…

      1. Describe how you can use discussion questions and checkpoints in your hybrid online program.  Outline the next steps you will need to take to begin successfully implementing the strategies in your program.


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    • #24564
      Sophia Azhar

      Discussion questions give the students a chance to reflect and process the information before writing.  This can give the shy or introverted students a chance to discuss and talk about their experiences.  DQ also help foster a sense of connection among the students.

      I will start by posting one DQ every week.  My students do not follow instructions very well so I realize that it will take a few weeks before every student starts participating.  The key will be to encourage them to respond and keep reminding them that the DQ is an integral part of the curriculum and it is mandatory for them to participate. I will also explain to the students that answering the DQ will improve their writing skills, and their higher order thinking skills and better prepare them for college.


      • #24622
        Joan Duffie

        Discussion questions are a good tool to use. It gets the students thinking and at the same time it motivates them to learn more.

        First I would review my students weak areas and then I format a plan and then implement the plan. Check the process and then revise to ensure all objectives are met.


        • #24632
          Roxie Carroll

          My students do not follow instructions very well either. I am fairly certain that we will have quite a few practice questions before implementation. However, I will be excited to see their growth from the beginning of a semester to its end.

        • #24666

          I have just begun to use Blackboard over this past week, and I am having difficulty getting my students to log on at all and complete assignments in Blackboard. If they would just do some lessons, they would see how beneficial Blackboard can be in their education. I feel like they will really enjoy the discussion questions if they just give it a chance. Any ideas on how to get them motivated to do their Blackboard lessons?

          • #28176
            Allison Holmes

            Roxie, I share your enthusiastic patience to witness the growth of our students as they engage in new and unfamiliar activities.  I truly enjoy this opportunity to impact the lives of our students and their families.

        • #24674
          Amy Denney

          I love that you are going to tell them why the DQs are important. I believe that it helps students to know that DQs do promote higher order thinking and model class discussions if the students were taking in-person classes. When I was working on my degree, I loved reading all the DQs from the students because I learned so much. I also learned which students were over-achievers. 🙂

          • #24883
            Mary Baxter

            Jackie, we are also in the process of implementing Blackboard. For the first week or two, we are only having them log on to access synchronous class. Once they get comfortable with that, our instructors will show them the lessons and how to complete them. We will also recognize students who are working through the Blackboard material and hope this will be a motivating factor.

          • #25377
            Sylvie Archer

            Hey, Jackie,

            Great question! Consider providing lessons in a palatable format–meaning, in unorthodox lessons. Using everyday intriguing topics to present the lesson. For instance, if you’re teaching social studies, perhaps present the lesson in the form of a poem or hip hop or a country song. Then ask them what the author or songwriter meant when s/he said this or that.

        • #24846
          mike mallette

          great job with the review of weak areas…make it individual…

      • #24657
        Pierre Lafun

        Sophia: Getting students to follow instructions independently is a never-ending challenge for educators, right? In course three of this series, we will cover what we call the “Safe Path Formula,” which can help students better understand processes and procedures in our classrooms and virtual spaces.

      • #24665

        Discussion questions allow the students to express their beliefs and opinions about the lessons and/or work they have done in the course. In my case, I am doing a Math Blackboard course, and I will be implementing one discussion question per week. In these discussion questions, I ask the students to express how they are feeling about the skills/lessons they are working on. I allow them to express concerns, likes, dislikes about any of the lessons or activities they have been asked to complete. Also, in these discussion questions, I have the students to respond to two of their classmates. I set very explicit guidelines in regards to their responses. The students must be positive and encouraging in their responses. I also tell them that if they have any helpful tips or guidance they can give their fellow classmates, they are free to offer that. By doing this, I hope to foster a sense of community among the students to where they will feel free to ask one another for help or assistance if needed. They know they can always come to me for assistance, but often, students feel more comfortable in a peer-to-peer setting when they need help.

        • #24744
          James Owens

          I like the idea of having Discussion Questions weekly.  This gets students involved early in the week and sets the pace for the week.  Setting context with the questions can get students involved and take charge of their own learning goals and setting guideposts for their learning.

        • #24847
          mike mallette

          I like the idea of having students respond to each others questions……will get them thinking…

        • #24854
          Ericka Reid

          This is such a good idea. I believe this was my error when I created discussion questions. The students did not have a clear guideline of what to expect and how to write. Once these guidelines are implemented, I believe the discussion questions will be more productive.

      • #24685
        Brianna Gillis

        I can use discussion questions and checkpoints in my online hybrid learning to assess students’ understanding of the content being covered each week.  Discussion forums allow students to read and ponder on the content for the week and then have discussions with classmates throughout the week so that can have a better understanding of the topics.  Also discussion forums allow students to interact who may not normally do so.  Checkpoints will allow students to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills reviewed and allow me as the teacher to review with students so that I can determine if they are understanding the content or if we need to continue to review or move on.  Both discussion forums and checkpoints are great for building students’ confidence and sense of community and connection with each other.  I plan to begin using both discussion forums and checkpoints in my online hybrid learning.  I will use discussion forums each week to discuss content and have a mid week check point to review content and assess students’ understanding and progress.  I will explain the expectations for both and provide a weekly schedule.  This will allow me to provide a better hybrid learning experience for my students.

        • #24743
          James Owens

          I agree,

          Consolidation of knowledge, either current or previous, is paramount for students to mark progress.  Students must make measurable skills gains for various reasons but this is important for them to get closer to the GED and for their own self-confidence.

          • #24798
            Brianna Gillis

            I agree James.  Building self-confidence is one of the most important things we have to do in Adult Ed.

      • #24735
        Peggy Wilson

        I can use Discussion Questions and Checkpoints in my online course in a way of providing reinforce and understanding of a reading skills and of promoting personal application of these skills.

        After introduction,  practice, and review of a skill, I will provide a Discussion Question  Rubric and a Discussion Question along with instructions, expectations, and the rationale.   The question will require critical thinking and personal application. I will read the responses to ensure the students understand and can apply the concept. If needed, further instruction and practice will be provided.  This will be followed by a Checkpoint.

        • #24736
          Peggy Wilson

          Brianna, it sounds like you have a good understanding of the strategies presented in this course.  I hope you  have great success in implementing them. As you state, a better learning experience is our goal!

          • #24767
            Brianna Gillis

            Thanks Peggy.  I am learning a lot and can’t wait to use the strategies with my students.  I am eager to begin implementing them.

        • #24886
          Philandria Williams

          Yes, a rubric is so important with discussions. I forgot to mention that in my post.

      • #24793
        Laura Sanabria

        Sophia, totally agree that the DQ can provide a safe space for quiet students to add their 2cents. So many times one person in class will dominate the Q/A sessions and others fade in the background.

        Re:Following intructions- it is always amusing to see how students don’t listen to your instructions and then ask questions immediately after you’ve given a directive.

        • #25329
          Annette Merier

          I agree in so many classes there is one student who does answer all the questions.  I try to allow the other students to answer, even calling on others, but that one student always dominates the class.  I teach math and I believe that some students like for one student to answer the questions so that they will not have to answer.   Discussion questions will allow all students to have a voice and the questions will also force all students to answer.  (And, it gives them time to think about the answer because they are not put on the spot like calling on a student to answer a question in person.)

      • #24864
        Shawanda Cannon

        Describe how you can use discussion questions and checkpoints in your hybrid online program. Outline the next steps you will need to take to begin successfully implementing the strategies in your program.

        Discussion questions can be used for the learner to express him or herself and for the instructor to see if the learner is understanding the standard being given. The checkpoints will do the same thing.
        As I start my Blackboard Collaborate class I will open class with a discussion question can start dialogue and help introduce the standard of the class. About half way into class I will implement the checkpoint.

      • #24882
        Mary Baxter

        I do not have a class, but supervise our ESL instructors. We have just begun implementing Blackboard in our courses, which will give us a platform for discussion boards. Some discussion boards have already been built that facilitate discussion about class content. We do not, however, have community forums. Our next steps will be to build in a community forum for students to use in addition to discussion boards that check for comprehension and allow students to engage in the content with each other.

        We have created some assignments in Blackboard that follow the learning checkpoint model, but they are not done weekly. The next steps will be to add a form of checkpoint for each week.

        • #25381
          Sylvie Archer


          I agree. Discussion forums are definitely one of the best tools to gauge student learning and to be able to prepare follow-up questions and/or discussion topics/lessons.

      • #28175
        Allison Holmes

        Discussion questions and checkpoints are effective tools to identify student understanding and to encourage critical thinking.  I plan to include the use of these tools in the Blackboard with Content LMS.  I currently use the discussion as a verbal/chat activity but appreciate the “think” time allowed via asynchronous access with due dates.

        Next Steps:

        Include at least two Discussion Forums and one Checkpoint in our weekly asynchronous assignments to guide review and instruction and develop critical thinking skills.

    • #24603

      I will encourage the instructors to add a discussion question every week.  The responsibility/consistency will be important in many different aspects.  Discussion questions will help with community awareness as well as writing skills, and a great place for encouragement.

      • #24659
        Pierre Lafun

        Paula: Consistency is one of the underlying themes within Mockingbird’s E-Learning Design Strategies. Students will require a lot of repetition and nurturing to move into online modes of discussion.

        • #24667

          Paula – I completely agree with you. The discussion questions will build a sense of community among the students and it will give them a change to give and receive encouragement to and from one another. And it certainly does help that it will help with their writing and typing skills. That is an added bonus!!!

          • #24737
            Peggy Wilson

            Matt, you are correct, students will require a lot of repetition and nurturing and our job will require consistency in providing the Mockingbird strategies. Being consistent with consistency is key!

        • #28177
          Allison Holmes

          Paula, this is my takeaway as well.  Our students have become accustomed to instructors’ “leading” discussion and this practice will cause instructors to relinquish this role in the best interest of their students and will produce better outcomes for the students in the long run.

      • #25328
        Annette Merier

        I think that weekly discussions are a great idea.  It will help with writing and helping students to think beyond answers like a, b, c or d.

    • #24613
      Lissa Faircloth

      Discussion questions are important in the over all writing process.  The students learn to read the prompt and then answer the question.  You can start off informal then move on to a more formal writing style.

      • #24614
        Lissa Faircloth

        Yes.  The more they use writing the better they will become!


        • #24626
          Joan Duffie

          That’s a good idea! I plan to do the same!

        • #24631
          Roxie Carroll

          I think using discussion questions is an essential practice for English Language Learners, and I regret that I have not been using it.

        • #24675
          Amy Denney


          This is a great point. I also believe that discussion questions prepare students for work because they are similar to reading an email from a coworker and then responding in an appropriate fashion.

          • #24795
            Laura Sanabria

            Amen Roxie! I’m afraid that with online teaching I have been neglecting this aspect of student development.  I don’t like to use class time to get students to write. I do love the idea of getting a bit of  writing time in without cutting into class time. This activity will improve a skill without students actually being aware that is what they are doing!

      • #24624
        Joan Duffie

        Yes, I agree to because this allow students to learn and be creative!

      • #24686
        Brianna Gillis

        Discussion forums should be very beneficial with the writing process.  Thanks for mentioning that.  I had not thought about that.

      • #24859
        Shaquanna Tuck

        Informal writing through the discussions would be a great way for students to initially relax and enjoy the process of writing before learning of the formal writing.

    • #24630
      Roxie Carroll

      Discussion questions are extremely useful for ELLs to practice their communication skills. Not only do discussion questions fulfill their purposes in creating bonds among the students, it strengthens the contextual skills and standards taught in ESL classes. The checkpoint can be done as a short assignment which has the students apply the standards taught in class and stressed in the previous discussion question.

      To implement the two, I would first create a rubric with my expectations and explain it to the students. I would then use Google classroom, since we haven’t integrated to Blackboard Learns yet, to post a discussion question and list the guidance for the responses, including clearly explaining the standards that the students should implement. However, since my students are high-beginning ELLs, I would not grade the first discussion question, but instead I would use it as a model and as a practice trial. I might have to use practice discussion questions more than once to illustrate both the procedures and expectations as well as the contrast between informal language in the community forums and formal language in the discussion forums. I would follow through with a checkpoint by having the students write a short essay or a “letter” to me that is related to a life skill issue and that uses the English vocabulary and grammar that they have learned in the module.

      • #24662
        Pierre Lafun

        Roxie: Sounds like an excellent plan! I especially appreciate your thoroughness in teaching your students how to use the platform. Clarifying our expectations to students often is so important, and so is celebrating their successes. At Mockingbird, we build time into our lessons to teach those types of skills and expectations, which we call “Housekeeping” and “Norms.” That information will be part of course two in this series.

    • #24673
      Amy Denney

      Since our local program has already begun the process of writing the curriculum for our online course in Blackboard, I feel like this course has supported our approach to engaging the learners by using discussion posts. We have weekly modules, and each module has two subject areas. Those subject areas have at least one discussion post to solidify the course objective for that week. We have also incorporated checkpoints, which we call “surveys”. These surveys culminate all the learning for that week into a short-answer quiz that is graded. I know that we don’t do official grades in adult education, but our program believes that receiving a point value for the coursework will help learners to persist.

      One item that we would like to add since taking this course is the community forum. This will help our students learn accountability in a safe environment. Our discussion questions attempt to incorporate the learning objective and workplace skills as well.

      • #24687
        Brianna Gillis

        Great idea.  We are beginning to use Blackboard also.  Thanks for sharing.

      • #24817
        Sara Mercer

        Blackboard gives lots of opportunities for student interaction.  I like that.  Sometimes online learning is impersonal.

      • #24855
        Ericka Reid

        I agree that sometimes giving a student a “grade” can help motivate the students. I like that your program already has a module system implemented. It seems that this would allow each student to know what they are supposed to do regardless if they switch between adult education sites.

    • #24742
      James Owens

      In regards to Discussion questions, our program can use them for feedback or as a method of finding out what areas that students are having difficulty.  We can see, in a fun or interesting way, how we can better serve them by, for example,  using a rating system for Mth content for ease or difficulty.

      Checkpoints can  serve a similar purpose but to make sure that students are grasping content or giving them measurable milestones for us, and themselves, to see their progress.  This can also be utilized as a consolidation technique for reminding students of past work to go over for refreshers or missing knowledge acquisition.

    • #24785
      Honoray Ard

      Utilizing discussion questions and checkpoints, allows me the opportunity to assess my students current “goal” status. I think it allows them to consistently evaluate and re-evaluate where they are and where they are going, all while creating an effective communication link.  This aids them in their journey’s clarity while providing encouragement and direction.

      • #24884
        Mary Baxter

        I like your suggestion of using discussion questions to elicit feedback. You could elicit feedback about the course content, the program, and the instruction.

    • #24792
      Laura Sanabria

      Discussion questions will be useful to start a conversation among ESL students’  that share common issues and difficulties. Low level students will find it difficult to understand rubrics and requirements. This would have to be highly simplified. I think I’d be more than satisfied  if  in first “discussions” about life skills each student make an entry and comment. I can envision discussion threads  on the anxieties or difficulties in communicating with health providers or school personnel about their children in school.  The discussions would have to rely heavily on the weekly lesson topic where they would be getting the basic vocabulary needed for that subject.

      Initially, my checkpoint  would be simply looking for participation rather than focus on the quality or kind of contribution. As students become familiar with the format, rules would be added requiring them to remark on other classmates’ comments.

      • #24818
        Sara Mercer

        I am nervous about teaching ESL online.  I am excited and nervous I should say.  I think the discussion forums would be a great way to get interaction.  I find many of my students are shy and won’t talk.  I feel the live collaborate sessions may have me doing all the talking.  Discussion forums might give them more confidence.

    • #24816
      Sara Mercer

      I will begin using discussion questions and checkpoints with my students.  I will use checkpoints before the major assignments to make sure of understanding until that point.  To make sure they are clear on the past work and what is coming.

      Discussion questions will be “getting to know you” questions in the beginning.  They can be used for feedback.

      • #24858
        Shaquanna Tuck

        In the beginning, getting to know you topics will be great for students and encourage them to open up and feel more confident in expressing themselves.

    • #24845
      mike mallette

      would use the discussion question to get to know students….and to get them to know each other….would use the checkpoints to determine areas to begin lessons and assignments for each one individually and to check progress of learning….

      • #24879
        Chasidy Parks

        Mike- I like the idea of using discussion questions to help the students get to know each other and focusing checkpoints for more academic lessons.

    • #24853
      Ericka Reid

      Discussion questions can be used to allow the students to express themselves and discuss the lesson. I have tried to implement discussion questions previously. However, I was not successful. This could be due to the lack of writing skills my students possessed at the time. We as teachers should always take into account our students skills before implementing new course materials.

      Checkpoints can be used to measure how much the students understand a specific topic. These are not quizzes, but short responses on key materials. If the student cannot understand the two main points of the lesson then the instructor can go back and see what the student does not understand. This creates more of a dialogue between student and teacher.

    • #24857
      Shaquanna Tuck

      Discussion questions can be used initially while students are adapting to this new learning tool to engage students in identifying barriers that they have encountered trying  to reach their educational and academic goals. This will give the instructor insight into each individuals’ needs.  Discussion questions will also be great for the ELL student because without fear of making an error in speaking, they can respond to various topics by writing.

      Checkpoints  can be given by having students solve a problem that would involve the use of the skills they have just learned.  Students may be asked to explain in their own words why a topic is important or the steps to solve a specific problem.

      • #24880
        Chasidy Parks

        Shaquanna,  Using discussion question in ELL is an great idea. I like the fact that you mentioned if will limit their fear of making errors when speaking. I think it is also a powerful tool when build trust with the student.

    • #24878
      Chasidy Parks

      Discussion questions and Checkpoints give the students a chance to express their understanding the concepts covered. It also helps the instructor see if there was a potential misunderstanding of a concept or topic. In an online environment student interaction is naturally limited. Discussion questions provide the opportunity to dialog back and forth as if in the classroom. I plan to use discussions when covering GA Best topics. Many of our student have a range of work related experiences. This will give students an opportunity to share their experiences related to the topic, but also learn from other students.

    • #24885
      Philandria Williams

      Discussion questions are beneficial as they allow students an opportunity to interact with one another about specific topics/questions. Students may need an example of a “good” discussion post as well as an example of a thorough reply to classmates so that they will know the expectations. Checkpoints are used as a formative assessment in order to check for understanding before instructors proceed to the next level of the lesson.

    • #25327
      Annette Merier

      Discussion questions will allow me  to gauge students’ understanding of topics.  The questions usually make students go back and look at the material to be able to answer.  They help students to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the topic.

      I think that checkpoints will allow students to know clearly and exactly what is expected of them.  They will know all the assignments, discussions, etc. that they will need to complete upfront.

      The next steps would be to review checkpoints and get a clear list.  As for discussions, after I introduce discussions, I will have to spend time explaining what is expected so that the students will answer completely.  I also plan to model good discussion answers to sample questions so that students will have an example to follow.

    • #25374
      Sylvie Archer

      Discussions forums are employed as a means of engaging the students in dialogue with their peers on the course materials and lessons. It is known that students learn best when their ideas are being shared or when they are challenges on their ideologies. In that way, they begin to unwrap their own thought processes and compare and/or contrast them with that of their peers. Nothing can be more challenging and equally enticing!

      The ultimate goal would be to present a variety of discussion topics on Blackboard Learn, have the students provide feedback, and then review the posts from an objective yet investigative standpoint. This will provide data from which I could provide feedback and then create follow up discussion topics.

      • #25390
        Zina Matthews-Holmes

        Hmmm I love that idea!! What would be some questions you would use?  When and if you implement this let’s collaborate ok?



    • #25388
      Zina Matthews-Holmes

      My thoughts are to use discussion questions to gauge my students comprehension and also determine if I need to provide small group or one-to-one instruction.  Checkpoints will be used to provide students who are ahead with more rigorous instruction and quite possibly a change in grouping of students when breakouts sessions are used


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