Part 7: Spring 2018 Labs

119 Effective Discussion Boards with Susan Brantly 04.13.2018

At the April 13, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, Susan Brantly shared her approach to creating and managing discussions boards that balance the best aspects of both digital and traditional discussions.


  • Susan teaches her Scandinavian literature class entirely online.
  • You cannot build a learning environment and expect others to thrive in it. If you don’t live in it, your students won’t either.
  • The instructor view/dashboard for Discussions in Canvas lets her see how the different groups are doing.
  • Set early deadlines to get people to come back and have time to look at and dig into other posts. Consider giving extra points for the first post.
  • Each week students get a choice of 3-5 questions to talk about.


Active Teaching Labs are held Fridays from 8:30-9:45am in room 120, Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) as well as some Wednesdays from 12:30-1:30pm in room 302 Middleton Building. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs.

Similar to the Active Teaching Labs, Active Teaching Exchanges feature instructors sharing their teaching experiences with tools and techniques, but provide more time for discussion without the hands-on investigation time. Exchanges are are held Thursdays from 1-2pm in room 120, Middleton Building. See the full calendar of both events. Stay informed about upcoming Labs and Exchanges by signing up for regular announcements by sending an email to


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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