Short case study: Discussion forums for group work


Context

The online discussion activity is designed to represent a significant part of the course in this blended learning approach. The discussion may be synchronous or asynchronous. The whole cohort might discuss the same issue together or the cohort may be divided into subgroups. The discussion can support preparation activities for face-to-face seminars or represent an assessed piece of work in its own right.

Case Study Overview

Students on the Social Aspects of Science module (department of Biology) worked on a small research project in groups before presenting their findings to the class. The aim of the blended approach was to improve group processes, helping students to exchange ideas and information, make decisions and prepare and submit group work. Students were divided into 6 groups and each group was given a discussion forum. Groups were required to record the activity of their group in the forum, including how work was allocated, group decisions, progress made and any other relevant information.  The module leader made occasional use of the comments feature to ensure that students knew that their posts were being read. 10% of the final mark was dependent on participation in this task. A further 50 % of the mark rested on an oral presentation based on the group work.

Next Steps

Case study last updated: December 2008

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