Monday, June 5, 2017

Creating an Online Conversation with Students

Discussion questions can be a little redundant and leave students bored. Students get used to the same way of communicating with their professors over and over. They go through the motions and don't put much thought into them, seeking to maximize points but not truly engaging in the conversation. Not enjoying also means less interest and less recall. Professors can create momentum to engage in a deeper conversation by focusing more on what is being said and providing insightful responses.

We can be smart, witty, and totally dumbfound our students with big words. But is it a conversation?Connecting with students in a way that engages them in a conversation that leads to greater insight means we actually "talk" to them even when the forums are online. We discuss issues on a "real" level and seek their input so we can expand their knowledge.

It takes a different kind of response then simply posting a certain amount of times, focusing specifically on content, and referring to items from a text. To engage means listening to what students  actually find interesting and engaging them on their level. One must develop a sense of where conversations are leading and be willing to post "tid bits" of information where the student left off.

Sometimes it could mean finding something going on that appeals to the students at their age level and then letting them apply ideas to musicians, games, sports, or pop culture. For example, marketing is as important for gamers as much as it is for cars. The theories will most likely apply similarly to a multitude of items available on the market.

Students live in a dynamic world where information isn't stagnant like we find in many classrooms. they want to see how that information works for them. Finding purpose for information often leads to greater interest and engagement by the student. Solving problems and enhancing decision making is the main purpose of higher education. Converse with your student and they will learn that the information is worth talking about.

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