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Guiding Questions and Rubric for Crafting Online Forums

Why Do This?

Well-designed forums can foster a community of learners, stimulating critical thinking, reflection, collaboration, and consensus building, as well as providing writing practice. As you are writing your online forum discussion questions, ask yourself whether you could select "Definitely" for all of the elements listed below.

Forum Question Matrix
Elements of a strong forum question
Definitely Somewhat Not really
Does this question directly relate to course learning outcomes?  Yes    
Do students have the background knowledge needed to answer this question?  Yes    
Can the question lead to integration of many theories/concepts?  Yes    
Does this question require students to reference the text and/or other resources?  Yes    
Will students need to explore outside resources to answer this question?  Yes    
Is there more than one answer to the question?  Yes    
Will this question invite the sharing of different perspectives?  Yes    
Is there room for further contribution if the first responder thoroughly answers the

From: Promoting Critical Thinking through Online Discussion: Developing Questions and Managing Conversations by Christine Harrington Ph.D. and Maya Aloni Ph.D. , Middlesex County College NJ Presented at the Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching, June 1, 2013 downloaded from: