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Lucy-
You indeed know what is takes to teach online-good for you!
Helen Sabin

Lucy Macdonald wrote:

> Groupwork online, no matter what the subject, must be carefully crafted,
> coached and valued.
>
> It is not enough to tell students that they must "discuss" online. The
> assignment and parameters must be well thought out and one of the criteria
> must be "engaging", whether it is discussion questions along the lines of a
> particular reading or peer editing of papers. In discussion questions on
> readings, I found that I needed a "catalyst" question, something that would
> get students talking, not necessarily about the writing. Once they got
> "talking", then we could work towards looking at the craft of writing.
>
> Coaching needs to be continual. I did this online in the background, but
> sending private messages to those who were on track in support of what they
> were doing, as well as those who were only half way there, asking them
> clarifying questions. For some students, I needed to help them articulate
> their thoughts in a private side conversation, before they could post their
> ideas.  If the charge was a critique of the writing, then I made each student
> an "unofficial" expert. I would give them a writing strategy with a
> definition and example that they were to pursue on the other students'
> papers. That way everyone in the public conversation looked like they had an
> expertese. This way they could teach each other with some validity. (Note:
> this listen more to each other than they do to "the English teacher!")
>
> Finally, discussion must be VALUED.  Currently the students are still in the
> grades paradigm, so points must be allotted to this activity. No points = no
> value in the student's mind.
>
> Lucy MacDonald
> Online Writing Faculty sinc 1992 BW (before WEb!)
> Chemeketa Community College