E-Learning Blog: Reduce Your Workload and Increase Interaction – Tip #1


— Cascade Discussions —

By Carlos Montoya, M.Ed


Let’s face it, online teaching brings a lot of challenges. One of those challenges is the amount of workload that is involved in having an interactive online course. Research has shown that discussions play a big role in an online learning environment. However, discussions bring yet more challenges. Not only do you have to read the original response, but also you have to read the replies of the rest of the students, thus taking a lot of time out of your busy life. One strategy that instructors are implementing to reduce their workload while increasing students’ interaction is by creating a cascade discussion.

How It Works

The instructor will create a group discussion. Each group will come up with ideas, answers, or a series of questions, depending what the discussion is asking. Groups are subset of a course with a course-like environment including their own discussion board; therefore they will work together on their own discussion board and come up with one post. Once each group has agreed with a post, one member of each group will create a discussion in the course discussion board. They will title the discussion with the group name or number, and post the information that the group agreed on. The instructor may now interact in the discussion to address the facts, comment on ideas or answer questions that were built in the process.

Canvas Implementation

Please watch the screencast video below to see how cascade discussions can be implemented in your Canvas course:

Group Discussion Tutorial

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Until next time,

Carlos