You're Asking the Wrong Questions
By Barbara M. Hall, PhD
You’re asking the wrong question. No, seriously, you’re probably asking the wrong question.
Yeah, that’s a pretty bold statement. But I’ve read tens of thousands of questions meant to prompt discussions in online course rooms, and the odds are I am right.
It’s true that much has been written about how to compose effective online discussion prompts. I’ve read a lot of that literature, and contributed a bit to it myself. But what I see often missing is consideration for the purpose of the discussion that is supposed to be prompted by the question.
This consideration for purpose is often overlooked because of assumptions we make. We, as course designers, faculty facilitators, or both, assume that we know the purpose of the discussion for which we are composing the questions. Yet, we have many different purposes of discussions.