Hi All - I just wondered what methods people have used successfully for conducting off line 'discussions' in an e-learning course?

I'm putting together a test course using Udutu with the content run from our Sharepoint (portal, intranet). The course will feature some case studies but I want the answers to the these cases to be user-generated.


I think I have several options:

a wiki - easy to make in Sharepoint: I can see this would be a quick method for getting information but I think I need to refresh it every session as ideas will run out after a while.

Discussion in Sharepoint: easy to set up (again - could refresh the discussion for each group by using a different survey name). Not sure I like the discussion format in Sharepoint but it works.

Discussion in Socialcast - company just started to use this and I could set up a group in social cast for this course; again how to refresh the discussion.

A collaborative mindmap - just looked at Bubbl.us looks useful (again, would need a new map for each group).

I could also use linoit - cloud-based pinboard and post-it application.

I guess, I may want to get involved to a degree in facilitating but I don't want to spend all my time involved in this.

And you guessed it, I don't really have a budget!

Any way, would be interested in people's thoughts and success stories.




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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Julian,

What you're proposing is the standard model for online course delivery in Higher Education. So there are lots of resources out there to help you make it work.

I'd start with Gilly Salmon's work on emoderating and etivities. They were the standard texts when I was working on this a couple of years ago.

Especially, make sure you understand the 5 stage model. It gives a great way of making sure you don't get too many people dropping out at the beginning.

The tools themselves are secondary to the facilitation and activity model you use. Any of the tools you've mentioned above would work - but I'd suggest using SocialCast, as it's so easy to use.


Thanks for the heads-up on those resources, Mark. I agree that the tools are secondary and I guess I was trying to work out if discussions, wikis, mind maps or something else would best serve the 'discussion' element.

Hi Julian,

It really depends whether you want people to "discuss" things, or to "create" something collaboratively. Both are equally valid activities. That's why Moodle (which is designed explicitly to support the social constructivist model of learning) offers forums, wikis and other social tools - to give a range of possibilities for the course design.

Whatever you choose will need some sort of facilitation, I'm afraid. It's not something that you can downplay at all, unless the group is already confident at collaborating online.




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