Online Discussion Questions That Work

By John Orlando, PhD via Faculty Focus     Article

“I’ve come to believe that crafting good online discussion questions is just plain hard and instructors fall back on essay questions for lack of better ideas. Below are some question types that will help generate real discussion.

Case study
Case studies are an ideal way to illuminate the practical consequences of different concepts. For example, in a medical ethics course I used the following:

A 72-year-old man is admitted to the hospital for a kidney transplant. His daughter is brought in as the best available match as a donor. As the man’s doctor, you discover from the pre-op lab work that the daughter is not a suitable donor because she is not his biological daughter. What, if anything, do you tell the man, his wife, or the daughter?

This example provides an ideal way to explore how fundamental principles of privacy, physician honesty, and shielding a patient from harm collide in the real world. The question allows for a variety of answers, each of which takes the students deeper into the fundamental issues being taught in the course.”

Another good discussion device is to generate controversy with a statement that challenges common orthodoxy.”  (Read more here: Article)

Online Discussion Questions That Work

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