Individual Learning Activities Overview
Here are brief descriptions on how some of the tools can be used in your courses. Hope that they can inspire you for other creative uses of the tools to improve student learning.
Blog and Discussion Board
Both Blog and Discussion Board can be used for students to present their ideas, see their peers’ perspectives and have richer and deeper dialogue about the concepts and topics studied in the course. Both tools can support collaborative learning.
We suggest that you use the Discussion Board tool if the learning goal is to build ideas upon each other, or debate on some important questions about a course subject. On the other hand, Blog may be a better activity when the learning goal is to reflect on concepts or ideas. It gives students a space to write about their understanding and think through a course concept or topic. From technical point of view a discussion forum is visually designed around a topic while a blog is designed around each individual student.
That being said, there is no hard rule as to which tool should be used in your course. After trying both, for example, use Discussion Board in one semester and blog in another, you may come up with your own creative ways to use these tools.
Other uses of Discussion Board
In addition to discuss about course topics, the Discussion Board can also be used for
- Course Qs and As: You can create a Forum for students to ask questions related to the assignments or topics studied in the course, and for you to answer their questions.
- Socialization among course members at the beginning of the semester. This is especially important for online and hybrid courses.
Journal can be used for students to reflect on the course subjects, try out ideas, and engage in meta-cognition. It is private by default. Only the faculty can see students’ journal entries.
Turnitin can be used to check the originality of students’ papers (anti-plagiarism) and for faculty to provide comments and feedback in text or/and audio format.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a webinar tool that can be used for live class meetings, office hours and online course exams. The Blackboard Collaborate Ultra page in each course has a Course Room that is open 24/7 for class members. It can be considered as a virtual classroom where students can get in any time to meet with peers, talk or discuss about course work, if they set up a meeting time in advance.