CSC 442 - ECCE - Section B
Internet and American Life
University of Illinois at Springfield
Spring 2014

Prof. Burks Oakley II

Additional Details about the Student-Led Discussions

I expect you to log-on a minimum of 4-5 times each week and to contribute to the discussions each time you log-on; you should participate not only in the discussion thread you are leading, but also participate in a minimum of three other discussion threads.

Do a good job of maintaining quality in the discussions you lead.  Lead by example!  If other students are not participating in your discussion threads, find out why and do something about it.  It is likely that if you are an active participant in the discussions lead by other students, they will actively participate in yours.

Note: Submissions to the weekly discussion forums AFTER the due date are welcome, but they will not be included in the evaluation of your course activities.

The Quality of Discussion Questions

The questions you ask in the student-led discussions should be thoughtfully developed and carefully worded.  These questions should address issues and/or concepts from the reading that you find particularly important.  I will use the following criteria to evaluate your questions:

In addition to facilitating your own discussion question, you are required to participate to no fewer than three other students' threaded discussions.  You may respond to as many questions as you want to - but three is the minimum.  You are expected to be an active participant in at least these three discussion threads, plus your own.

The student-led discussions are the major learning activities in this course.  I will evaluate your participation carefully.  You must demonstrate knowledge of the material - not just your opinions.  Each contribution you make to any of the discussion threads should add something of value to the discussion.  The best postings include references to additional online sources that are relevant to the topic being discussed.

The quality of your discussion thread can be influenced by the feedback you give to the students who post to it.  Three things determine the quality of a discussion thread:

The Quality of Responses

What is a low quality post?  A low quality does not teach us anything, or contribute anything positive or substantial to the discussion.  Examples of low quality responses:

What is a high quality post?  A high quality response teaches us something, or adds something positive and/or substantial to the discussion.  It contains information from the weekly readings or links to other valid sources, or applies a concept from the readings or a legitimate website in a meaningful way, or facilitates understanding of the course material.  The best posts not only introduce new ideas or knowledge, but help us relate it to what we are studying at the time.

Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence

You should strive to make postings that demonstrate social presence, cognitive presence, and/or teaching presence [based on Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2001) - see reference below].

Social presence is the ability of participants in an online course to project their personal characteristics into the online community of learning - to present themselves as "real people."  There are at least three forms of social presence:

It is important to establish a community of learning in an online course.  One way to facilitate this is to provide social reinforcement to your fellow students.  When you agree or disagree with what another student writes, you are providing such feedback.  When you respond with an expression of emotion, that can also demonstrate social presence.

Cognitive presence is the extent to which students are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained discourse (discussion) in a community of inquiry.  Cognitive presence can be demonstrated by introducing factual, conceptual, and theoretical knowledge into the discussion.  The value of such a response will depend upon the source, clarity, accuracy and comprehensiveness of the knowledge.

Teaching presence is the facilitation and direction of cognitive and social process for the realization of personally-meaningful and educationally-worthwhile learning outcomes.  There are two major ways students can add teaching presence to a discussion:

A. By facilitating the discussion:
Weekly Evaluation

For each of the weekly discussions, I will evaluate the quality of your responses on a ten (10) point scale.  You will be able to see your scores, but you will not be able to see the scores awarded to other discussion participants - nor can they see your scores.

Garrison, D. R., T. Anderson and W. Archer. Critical thinking, cognitive presence and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7-23, 2001.

Last Updated 2 January 2014 by Burks Oakley II (

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