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Sociology lecturers makes use of interactive discussion topics

Author: CIECT

for students and tutors

Sociology Lecturer, Marlize Rabe has created an interactive online environment for her 2nd year students. The structured online environment includes the sharing of learning material; discussion topics for student and tutor engagement and online assessments.

The discussion forum has been structured to allow for the following engagements:

1.      Content related discussions

2.      Tutorial submission and discussion 

3.      Discussions with other students

4.      Administrative Questions

The lecturer, students and tutors were able to engage with each other regarding discipline specific topics in a formal structure. The tutors were able to retrieve tutorial tasks and provide feedback to students. The students were also able to engage with each other in an informal setting. As this was the lecturer’s first attempt at making effective use of the discussion forum, the lessons learnt by both lecturer and students will be used to improve teaching and learning practices.


​​​The discussion forum is an asynchronous communication eTool integrated within the institutional Learning Management System (LMS) – iKamva. This eTool enables students to engage in the forum from any geographical location and communication does not have to happen instantly. This allows students to think about their responses and to construct coherent submissions. Students are able to view and reply to posts which facilitates a constructive peer review process.

Lecturers are able to create specific topics related to their discipline for discussion as well as assessment purposes. Articles and various resources can be added to the topics to steer the discussions. The forums can be used to promote interactive discussion amongst students. The discussion forum tool allows lecturers to identify applications in ‘real-life’ scenarios. As students engage in peer review, lecturers can assign marks for assessment purposes. This will also encourage reflective posts to be authentic and well-structured, in order for students to gain substantial marks.​


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