Teaching Tip 3: Student Interaction & Knowledge Building

As we are moving into an era where online teaching will take centre-stage, it is important to understand how online teaching methodologies (e-Learning) differs from the traditional, face-to-face teaching methodologies. Trying to replicate the traditional mode will not always be the most effective for the online learner. Students will be required to be self-directed learners and your online teaching methodology should reflect this. As online learning can be data intensive, it is also important that digital media components are kept simple and easily accessible to all.
Hence, there are important points to consider when taking your course online, listed alongside iKamva eTools which can be used for these purposes:


  1. Sequencing & scaffolding of learning content (Lessons eTool)
  2. Regular contact with students (Announcements)
  3. Student interaction & knowledge building (Discussion Forums & Meetings)
  4. Formative & Summative Assessments linked to each learning unit (Test Quizzes,  Assignments eTools)
  5. Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Interaction (Discussion Forums, Chat Room, Meetings [BigBlueButton])

Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, Discussion Forums can serve as a bridge between the gaps.

  • Discussion Forums will give students the opportunity to interact with the lecturer; and with their peers.
  • Discussion Forums can be used as a Q & A space, whereby students can pose questions related to concepts or topics that they are uncertain of, and these questions can be answered by the facilitator, a tutor, or even another student in the class.
  • Discussion Forums can be a great way for students to express their opinions (student voices); and actively participate in the process of knowledge-building and sharing.
  • Group discussions: The facilitator can create multiple forums and limit it to a specific pre-defined group, meaning that only students in the group are able to interact in the forum. This can be used for collaborative work such as group assignments; or for Tutors to interact with their Tutorial Groups.
  • Discussion Forum can be used for assessment purposes: Students are required to post their responses to a topic or question. Students can then critique other student’s posts, and give their own opinion if they agree or disagree. In some circumstances, it is better to grade students on their time and effort; rather than whether or not the response is correct. This will help to promote interaction and students will not feel apprehensive about sharing their responses.

**See links below on how to create effective & engaging Discussion Forums:




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