Recently, professors of both virtual and in-classroom courses have developed a new method of creating discussion. Through an online collaborative, such as Blackboard, professors urge their students to engage and push each other through forums, discussion boards, and blogs. To achieve that, teachers assign a certain number of posts per class period, per week, or per semester. That part isn’t terribly new. Requiring students to write a response to another’s post is a recent development.
This trend is beneficial for the teacher, the student responding, and the student who left the original post. To make an appropriate and complete response, the student has to read the original post, which ignites a new idea in the that person. And then another student comes along, who then must read both the original and the comment, and he or she learns something and leaves his or her input. With this method, students learn about the initial topic, and then they converse and learn even more. They teach each other and learn together through such a simple process.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” as they say, and it seems today’s teachers in higher education agree. When teachers require such simple methods of discussion, students begin to yearn for it. They will become interested in hearing what other people say and providing their own idea to accompany it. Plus, it provides them with a basic sense of technique for interactions both in and out of the classroom: listen and then formulate a valuable response.
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