Beth Wilson’s use of an active learning discussion board in an online class

Filed in engaging students in class by on October 24, 2018 0 Comments

photo of Beth WilsonI am an online professor teaching a graduate class in systems engineering.  This week the students are engaging in active learning through a discussion board assignment that launched today to apply the lecture concepts presented this week to real world case studies.

Using the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 as an example, the recorded lecture explored the typical causes identified including late iceberg sighting, inadequate lifeboats, and failed iron rivets.  Systems thinking shows us that the only way this disaster could have been prevented is with systemic change to the way the ship was built and operated.  The culture would have to be changed to shift away from thinking that the ship was unsinkable and that luxury was more important than safety.

The discussion board assignment invites the students to pick 1 of 3 case studies introduced: Challenger disaster in 1986, New Orleans flooding when Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, and the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010.  They are asked to describe the system of causes for the case study they select.

All of the discussion boards in this class are graded using the same rubric of 10 points.  One point is awarded for posting early in the week to encourage conversation and interaction throughout the week.  Up to 5 points are awarded for the original post.  Full credit explores several aspects of the material, offers meaningful connections, and shows critical thinking.  Up to 4 points are awarded for replies to other student threads (same or different case studies).  Full credit replies to at least 2 other students with meaningful discussion.

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