Online Discussions

Best practice for facilitating an online discussions

The following practices have been developed based on research and are intended to help drive effective discussions. This is not an exhaustive list, but we hope these recommendations will help you facilitate meaningful online discussions.

  1. Participate in the discussion board to motivate students and model learner interaction (Rovai, 2007).

  2. Provide meaningful feedback to encourage student learning and increase engagement (DiPietro et al., 2010; Salmon, 2013).

  3. Encourage students to share their experiences and embrace varied perspectives (Garrison, 2017).

  4. Create a netiquette guide outlining expectations and practice the netiquette guidelines (Borup and Stimson, 2019).

  5. Summarize student responses and ask probing questions within the discussion to promote deeper conversations Salmon, G. (2013).


Borup, J., & Stimson, R. (2019). Online teachers’ and on-site facilitators’ shared responsibilities at a supplemental virtual secondary school. American Journal of Distance Education, 33(1), 29–45.

DiPietro, M., Ferdig, R. E., Black, E. W., & Presto, M. (2010). Best practices in teaching K-12 online: Lessons learned from Michigan Virtual School teachers. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(3), 10.

Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-learning in the 21st century: A Community of Inquiry framework for research and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Rovai, A. P., & Barnum, K. T. (2007). On-line course effectiveness: An analysis of student interactions and perceptions of learning. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 18(1), 57-73.

Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: The key to active online learning. Routledge.

Online Discourse Etiquette