Framing Online Discussions: Getting Quality Posts and Giving Effective Feedback


  • Marilea Bramer Minnesota State University - Moorhead
  • Monica Janzen Anoka-Ramsey Community College


Discussion Posts, grading, rubrics


Both Bramer and Janzen have tried many different strategies for online discussions over the years. Setting up and evaluating on-line discussions is a challenge because it is difficult to find a balance between efficiency for the instructor and meaningful feedback that encourages student success and improvement. In the first half of our roundtable, we will discuss our best practices regarding discussion directions and prompts, efficient grading strategies, and discussion rubrics. We will present two contrasting models, one student initiated and one faculty initiated, that can be used in a variety of different disciplines and settings. Despite our different methodology, our goals are the same: to improve the quality of student posts. We require students to draw on both reading and other course materials to reinforce the importance of regular reading in an online course. We also utilize detailed rubrics that provide direction for students, make grading more efficient, and allow us to give more detailed feedback on the assignments. Our focus here will be more on structure, design, and assessment rather than the specific content of the discussions. We will end the roundtable facilitating a discussion by answering questions and eliciting what strategies attendees have also found effective—or even ineffective—in their own courses.

This file includes the handouts from our presentation. It contains sample discussion post assignments and grading rubrics.

Author Biography

Marilea Bramer, Minnesota State University - Moorhead

Marilea Bramer is a professor in the Philosophy Department at Minnesota State University Moorhead. She has been teaching online for over 8 years.