Maryland Faculty Online Advanced Search Button
Maryland Faculty Online Home ButtonHelp Button
Modules ButtonEvents ButtonResources and Activities ButtonCurriculum ButtonGlossary ButtonFeedback ButtonAbout MFO Button      

Module B ButtonTopic B5.2: Management Strategies - Students

Master Course Site Contents

Set clear goals and parameters before the chat session. As with any directed discussion, let the students know the focus of the discussion, the time and date for the session (set a date and time agreeable to all participants), and the session time limit (i.e., 45 minutes, one hour, etc.) Consider: What questions might you prepare to encourage learning and stimulate dialogue? How will you grade/evaluate performance?

Appoint a chat moderator before the session. An effective chat moderator helps keep discussions on track, gets all to join in be drawing out passive learners and keeps others from dominating the discussion. Consider: You may want to assume the role of moderator for a session with students who are new to virtual chat.

Establish basic chat rules before the session begins. Guidelines may include using a signoff to let others know when one has finished his/her thought (learners often hit the “Enter” key before finishing an idea, leading others to jump in prematurely. You may want students to type "OVER" or "OUT" when completing ideas/queries. You can also have the moderator decide when others may join in by inviting a participant to comment. Another strategy would be to have participants "raise their hand" (use a special preselected character) to indicate to the moderator that they wish to be called on to comment. The moderator should also give a two-minute alert when a chat is about to end so participants can finalize their thoughts/questions.

Summarize the chat. Have students summarize the key points of the chat.


To learn how to build online teams (can be both synchronous/asynchronous interactions), view Dr. Joan D. McMahon’s presentation "Team Building Online: Oxymoron or Reality?" in PowerPoint or download it as a Word document.

In “Planning An Online Discussion” (asynchronous interactions), Tom Cantu, an instructional designer at the University of Maryland College Park, presents a practical worksheet including an example application and useful strategies for grading participation in online discussions. These strategies can be applied whether you use Blackboard, WebCT or another electronic course management system.


Learning Activity I
Download and view the text file Learning Activity.rtf to draft a sample strategy for managing your students in a synchronous or asynchronous online interaction.


Back ButtonNext Button



  Copyright © 2003 Maryland Faculty Online
Maryland Faculty Online Home Button