Introductory Icebreakers are a good example of Social Discussion forums. They provide students with an opportunity to get to know one another and to interact in an Informal way. They should be fun and non-threatening and require participants to find something in common with others in the group.Having the students introduce themselves is a great icebreaker and helpful for creating community. Also throughout the course, if a student reads a post from their peer, they can easily get to the information on that peer while staying within the Discussion forum. Respond to each student introductory discussion to welcome the learner to the course and encourage the class to respond to one another’s introductions.
Here are a few ideas for creating an introductory discussion forum :
Create a brief introduction questionnaire for your students to answer in your Introduction discussion.
- As you build your own questionnaire brainstorm about what things the students might have in common. Examples might be age, county and state they live in, or workplace.
- Less common might be questions about certifications received for those in the medical field, what sports do you participate in if those in recreational studies or samples of portfolios or other work.
- Students respond to three other participants using these three comments:
- Talk about what you have in common.
- Talk about what is different about you, and how that difference might affect your communication.
- Ask a question.
- Personal Introductions – ask each student to introduce themselves on the discussion forum at the beginning of the term.
- Portrait – students create a portrait of themselves in any medium, digitize the portrait and share it on the discussion forum.
- Interviews – have pairs of students interview each other on a given topic and post the interview results in the discussion forum.