Interacting with Students


Dr. Pratt and Dr. Palloff in our video resources gave specific guidelines for instructor responses to the student discussion.  This included a limitation to how many times you interact with students and under which situations.  They are very specific about how to strategically respond to posts to promote discussion and prevent inappropriate behavior.

It seems that each of the participants has a different career.  One is a k-12 teacher.  Another works in health care.  The third participant works in the corporate world.  This causes each participant to have specific questions.  In this post, give specific guidelines for instructor interactions with students during an online discussion.

Make sure you:

  • Determine how often you think that an instructor should participate in an online discussion.  This should be a range of numbers and include a rationale.  You may choose any class size for this.
  • What are your favorite questioning strategies?  When would you apply each of these strategies?
  • What specific suggestions would you make for each of these career paths (K-12 education, health care & corporate training)?
  • Finally, what would you say to a student or group of students who are not interacting appropriately?

Be certain that you reference the Walden video within your post.  Also, here are resources that might help you with questioning strategies.

Barton, J., Heilker, P. & Rutkowski (n.d.) Fostering Effective Classroom Discussions. Virginia Tech.  Retrieved from .

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010).  Assessing Interaction and Collaboration in Online Environments. Retrieved from

Muilenburg, L., & Berge, Z. (2000). A framework for designing questions for online learning. Berge Collins Associates Available online: http://www. emoderators. com/moderators/muilenburg. html [19 July 2003].

By Friday

Post your suggestions for instructor participation in online discussions.  Refer to the video and one of the other suggested sources.  Feel free to utilize personal experiences and outside resources.

By the end of Saturday

Read through the postings and respond to at least two of your colleagues’ posts.  You may:

  • Explain how and why you see things differently.
  • Share insight from having read the posting.
  • Connect the information to another post.
  • Validate an opinion with your own experience.
  • Expand on your colleagues’ posting.

Please return to this posting and read the responses to your initial post.  Share with us an insight from this activity.


Here is the rubric.


4 thoughts on “Interacting with Students

  1. Interesting discussion topic. As noted in the prompt, discussions occur in a broad spectrum of settings. Is there really a one size fits all solution? General guidelines indicate that instructors interact with everyone during introductions and then begin to withdraw from the discussion as students create a self-sustaining learning community. The instructor then assumes the role of facilitator in these classrooms. Instructors risk becoming a dominator in discussions if they are not careful to follow this advice. Advice on timing and intervening are difficult, since each class is unique. The best advice for instructors is to follow their instinct in discussion. Leaning towards being hands off is advisable in most settings. When intervention is called for instructors need intervene swiftly clarifying expectations. Disruptive students must be removed immediately.


  2. Marla,

    The discussion you set up on your blog is very informative and I appreciate the explanation of everything you are expecting students to deliver in this discussion prompt.

    To answer some of the questions I feel that instructors should always respond to some of their students. Drs. Palloff and Pratt stated in the media resource “Assessing Interaction and Collaboration in Online Environments” that the only time instructors should respond to every student is at the beginning of a course with icebreakers, introductions and/or bios (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.).

    The strategies that would be useful in all three career fields listed would be to ask questions to raise students’ level of thinking and encourage further dialogue (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.). Having students elaborate, extend and/or connect their thinking (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.) is another technique that would be advantageous to the students and the instructor.

    Students who don’t seem to be interacting within the course should be asked to join in the discussion in a discrete manner. These students can be asked to summarize what they have read their classmates post (Laureate Education, Inc., n.d.) to get them involved.

    This discussion is well formatted and I can imagine other students being able to collaborate on the topic you have selected. Thank you for the well thought out example of a great discussion prompt.


    Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (n.d.). Assessing interaction and collaboration in online environments. [DVD].

  3. Hi Marla,
    This is a very good discussion prompt. Dysthe (as cited by Andresen, 2009) contends leaners should be assigned reading assignments and have time to reflect on them as well as any discussion topics or questions and then present examples to other learners and finally defend those examples within a discussion group. Your discussion prompt ask students to use high-level thinking and critical thinking skills.
    Andresen, M. A. (2009). Asynchronous discussion forums: success factors, outcomes, assessments, and limitations. Educational Technology & Society, 12 (1), 249–257. Retrieved on December 13, 2013, from

    • Sharifa,
      Thank you for your compliment. Do you think that Patricia’s suggestions for interacting with students are the best practices? Are there similarities between her post and Marc’s post?


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