Editor: Karen Franker

Designing Thought-Provoking Online Discussions

Explore how experts design and manage online discussions to promote deeper learning. Discover the power of well-crafted discussion prompts to spark learners’ motivation and enhance participation.

15 Tips for Facilitating Online Discussions
Katie Lepi shares Mia MacMeekin’s excellent infographic containing 15 tips for effective online facilitation, as well as 11 discussion prompts that stimulate conversation and encourage students to “dig deeper.”

Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions
The University of Oregon’s Teaching Effectiveness Center has developed a comprehensive guide to exemplary online discussions including: strategies for effective dialogue, writing good questions, and classroom examples.

The Art of the Discussion Prompt
Alex Joppie describes how to set goals, guidelines, and expectations for discussions, and how to deal with common issues such as students posting incorrect information.

How to Facilitate Robust Online Discussions
Debbie Morrison shows how to develop and sustain dialogue by a) creating ‘good’ and ‘right’ questions, and b) guiding discussions to support meaningful discourse.

The Art and Science of Successful Online Discussions
Stephanie Maher Palenque and Meredith DeCosta summarize four dispositions for a productive online discussion: discuss to comprehend, discuss to critique, discuss to construct knowledge, and discuss to share.

Online Discussion Rubric
Joan Vandervelde’s rubric provides an excellent framework for guiding students to write quality discussion posts.


Tech Tip: Clean Up Microsoft Word HTML with Free Web Tool

To fix formatting issues that commonly occur when pasting text directly from Microsoft Word into an online discussion board, use the free Word to Clean HTML tool.

Simply paste your text into the tool’s large white window, then click on the “Convert to Clean HTML” button.

In the next window, click “Copy HTML to Clipboard” then press “Ctrl-C” (Windows) or “Command-C” (Macintosh). Last, use “Ctrl-V” (Windows) or “Command-V” (Macintosh) to paste the converted text into a new discussion board posting.

Featured Online Courses

Meet your professional development goals for continuing education, license renewal or advanced certification.

EDUC 761 Creating Collaborative Communities in E-Learning
Instructor: Dr. Kay Lehmann
“The time management techniques and resources shared related to prepping, first week activities and what to do during and after your online course ends were pure gold!”
~Jennette Kane, Technology Integration Supervisor, Pepper Pike, Ohio

EDUC 647 Strategies for Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom
Instructor: Faith Huitt
"I've learned more than I ever thought I would about so many aspects of children with ASD. Since this is my first experience with the online format, I was skeptical as to how much I would actually learn, but came away with so many new insights."
 ~ Ryan B., High School Biology/Chemistry Teacher, Illinois

Dates for Online Courses

Check out the list of online classes.


Sign Up Today

Register Online


Stay In Touch with UW-Stout Online Professional Development

Request a Catalog
Visit us on Facebook
School of Education
Online Professional Development
University of Wisconsin - Stout
Phone: (715) 232-2693

Archives - back issues in case you missed the most recent newsletter.



Online Courses

Check out the list of new courses.


Sign up early to reserve a spot in the elearning and online teaching certificate, instructional design certificate, or  reading teacher certification online courses and reading specialist courses. 

Classes fill early each term. Don't delay!