The concept of blended learning has gone viral on the Internet and in classrooms. For those who aren’t familiar, blended learning is a method that takes traditional in-class teaching and interlaces it with an online element. The beautiful thing about blended learning is that it prepares students to be digital citizens, which is vital in a society full of technology. One vital element to digital citizenship, and what is considered to be a 21st century skill, is the ability to communicate effectively. To be a great conversationalist, students must learn the ability to participate in deep, authentic discussions, and learning to do so online is just as important as face-to-face dialogue.
Blended learning is a fantastic approach to building online communication skills. However, teachers often find it very challenging to boost student engagement and “get the ball rolling” in online discussions. So here are some thoughts and ideas on managing an online student discussion: