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Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Fulcrum Institute Development Team

Guidelines For Leading Online Study Group Discussions

As discussion leader, your overall goal is to help your study group colleagues make the most of their discussion.

Before you begin:

  • Do the investigation.
  • Review the "Report and Discuss" questions.
  • Post your Report as early as possible. Model being an early poster.
  • Take another look at Scientific Discussions in the Classroom and Online (in Course Documents).

In the discussion forum:

  • Open the discussion with the question from the Report and Discuss section of the assignment.

As the discussion unfolds:

  • Read all posts by your colleagues.
  • Bring the work of your group into focus by noting patterns or discrepancies and raising questions.
  • Challenge colleagues to always provide evidence for their claims.
  • Identify alternate theories or explanations and encourage debate; ask provocative questions that may expand or extend the discussion.
  • Connect the week’s investigation and the Challenges.
  • Wrap up the discussion (Thursday evening) with a post that returns to the investigation question and goals. (use the subject line “Wrapping Up”)

In the discussion leaders’ forum:

  • Raise questions and acknowledge challenges you are having in deepening the discussion.
  • With your facilitator, discuss the focus of your posts and how best to craft these.