Where I really hear my student’s voices? The online discussion board.

I started using discussion boards out of complete practicality. I had to be away for a conference, and I needed a solution for my evening class. I’ve come to use the discussion board in almost all my classes now because I find the use of discussion boards very helpful in engaging students in a different way. When I read student posts, I often realize that I may have been underestimating their interest or willingness to go into depth on a topic or theme.

A colleague asked me for some design tips. Here’s what I typically use.

 Planning:

  1. If you know you will be absent for the week, it’s good to give as much lead time as you can so students know what’s going on. At the very least, let students know at the beginning of your class this could be coming if you need to have a backup plan for an inclement weather week.
  2. Decide how you will grade or record the results of participation. In my case, I usually just count it towards attendance, but you can make planned online discussions part of a graded assignment.

Structure:

  1. For online discussions, I will usually create 4 questions, and let the students select 2 to answer.
  2. Students are directed to provide an answer that is 75 to 100 words.
    1. I set a deadline for this. If the class meets Monday, I will set a deadline that the first question/s be answered with a post by Wednesday evening at 11:59 p.m.
  3. Students are directed to provide two answers, one answer to two students.
    1. These answers should be 50 to 100 words and should be more than a “ditto” answer. They should provide positive support, challenging follow-up, or something that resembles a “yes, and…”.
  4. The answers should also have a deadline. If questions are answered by Wednesday, follow-ups should be completed by Sunday evening.

This is just a quick review of how I set discussion boards up.

#APM17, I’m headed your way.

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I’m planning to attend the 2017 Council of Social Work Education Annual Program in Dallas. This is my fourth APM, and once again, I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with and learn from colleagues across the spectrum of social work practice and education.

I’ll be participating in two presentations:

  • The licensure exam: development and evaluation of a synchronous group intervention.” (Sunday, October 22, 7:30 a.m.) Students in my program express anxiety over the pending licensing exam, as it impacts their ability to transition to professional engagement after graduating. I developed an entirely online, synchronous seminar that reviews and deconstructs test items provided by the ASWB as part of their group study package. While our school’s pass rates are high, I was interested in finding out of the sessions impacted students’ anxiety about the exam. Professor Carol Coohey and I will present on the intervention design and results from the study. ( 7:30 a.m….bring coffee.)
  • “Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice.” (Saturday, October 21, 2:00 p.m.) This presentation is summarized in this blog post, on MacroSW.com. If you aren’t familiar with #MacroSW, check out the About page. Also, check out the topic for this Thursday’s chat here. If you are attending the conference in Dallas, follow both the #MacroSW and #APM17…we are planning to have a meetup to join in the Twitter chat at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central (Dallas is included in the Central Time zone…yes, I had to look it up).

 

I’ll be blogging throughout the conference, mostly as a way to capture the environment and overall experience. I can be found here and at @spcummings on Twitter.

 

It’s 2017, and we are still fighting Nazis. Here’s what we can do. Today: Stand in solidarity with #Charlottesville anti-Nazi protesters.

Photo (c) 2017 Stephen Cummings.

 

If you are a person of decency, you aren't a Nazi. And you're definitely upset that, in 2017, good people are still dying because Nazis still exist. White supremacists are still organizing. 

There's a lot of work to do. If you are a social worker, staying neutral on the subject of institutional racism is not an option. It's part of who we are.

Today, it's August 13, 2017, and we've witnessed a horrifying event in Charlottesville. It's disgusting and completely predictable. Let's first stand up and show we are part of the solution.

Rachel West, a partner in #MacroSW, has created a crowdsource document that helps locate events where we can demonstrate our solidarity with those who are standing up for basic human decency. (You know, anti-white supremacists. Anti-white nationalists. Nazis.)

Here's the document:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oYagVIJfZRSIenIZuP9TNl7ooSiBq4IUKp8rIpfqWsA/edit?ts=59907565#

This week’s #MacroSW Chat (7/6/17): Disabled Students’ Rights on College Campuses

This week’s #MacroSW blog will take place on Thursday, 9/8 Central, on Twitter.  The discussion will focus on the lack of support for disabled students’ rights on campus, despite the language in the ADA and Section 504.

From the blog post this week:

“As we prepare to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the ADA on July 26th, and the start of the 2017-2018 academic year in a few weeks, it is fitting for students, professors, and social workers to understand the barriers disabled students on campuses experience, and how to advocate for their rights. “

Read the full post over on the MacroSW blog. You’ll find possible discussion questions and further reading. If you’d like to join the chat but aren’t sure where to begin, be sure to check out the FAQ.