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Forums: Crafting Effective Questions

When utilizing discussion boards, it is imperative that you carefully craft your questions in a way that will help foster meaningful discussion. Well-written questions not only help students understand content on a basic level, but also can guide them to think critically about the content.

Effective Question Types…

Invite students to analyze content
  • Example: Consider the modern American population. How receptive do you think it would be if Roosevelt’s New Deal were put in place today? Explain why.
Ask learners to apply their knowledge
  • Example: Pick a modern TV show or film and write a one or two paragraph analysis of it using the deconstructionist theory.
Query students’ comprehension of the content
  • Example: Compare the natural resources of Argentina and Brazil.
Apply the lesson content to real-world situations
  • Example: Select a recent news article about a natural disaster. Answer the following questions:
    • Is new legislation needed? Why or why not?
    • What are the social, economic, and human costs of the disaster?
    • How will this disaster change national or world policy?

Ineffective Question Types…

Only have one answer
  • Example: In what year was Roosevelt’s New Deal announced?
Do not invite discussion
  • Example: Name three retailers that have recently opened up Health Care Clinics.
Yes or no questions that do not ask for explanation or analysis
  • Example: Do you agree with Tomlison’s theory on gaining capital?