In an Instructor led discussion you as the instructor must be the facilitator, the role model and the communicator. Preparation is the key to using a backchannel successfully and avoiding the common pain points of an online discussion such as:
Poor pacing of discussions.
Excessive postings, particularly if they diverge the discussion away from the desired topic.
Students holding back.
BackChannel Chat is designed with tools to help with some of these issues, we have features to lock out a room which can help with pacing and our system is designed to be friction free with the goal to reduce general technology issues.
As I mentioned earlier, preparation is the key and rubrics are useful for assessing work in a classroom and they are just as useful when thinking about online discussions. I've put together some thinking points when considering an online discussion rubric:
|Timeliness||The student posts infrequently or waits until the last moments before the end of the discussion to post. Since the goal is to have an engaging discussion, infrequently posting early in the discussion hinders the discussion. For a quantitative number, lets require at least one post early in the discussion and no more than 2 posts in total.||The student posts throughout the discussion as well as early in the discussion. This promotes engagement from other students. The student should post at least 2 posts early in the discussion and a total of 5 posts throughout the discussion.||The student posts frequently throughout the discussion, with posts at the beginning, middle and end parts of the discussion. The student has posted at least 7 times.|
|Follow up||Does the student post follow up questions to existing discussions? This indicates that the student is participating in the discussion. No follow up questions or follow up questions that have already been asked is a sign the student is not fully participating.||The student posts relevant follow up questions. The follow up questions are timely and don’t slow the discussion.||The student posts follow up questions that are timely and highly relevant to the discussion and spark further conversation. The student has asked questions that others have not considered.|
|Content Quality||The student posts distracting content that is not relevant to the discussion.
The teacher has to use the moderation tools to remove content.
|The student posts content that is related to the discussion.||The student posts highly relevant content and helps keep the discussion engaging and educational.|
|Clarity||The student posts long text that is hard to understand and stifles the discussion.
Posts rude content that distracts the discussion
|Contributes in a happy thoughtful way. The student has used grammar correctly and||The student has used language that expresses thoughts and opinions clearly. The text is clear and concise and free from major grammar mistakes.|
I’ve put some arbitrary numbers into the table above, feel free to replace them with values that you feel represent your goals.
Hopefully this will give some ideas when it comes to assessing student participation. Please feel free to leave your thoughts below.
Why not give it a try now for free, we provide all the tools needed for educators to hold class Socratic seminars.