Dynamic Collaboration, Discussion and Facilitation Practices

January 2010

Practitioner Document - ABSTRACT


This Practitioner Document is one of a series of documents produced by The Sloan Consortium based upon key insights from our workshops. Participants of these workshops discuss and share tips and techniques that work for them, plus experiences and issues based on the topic of each workshop. As a member of
Sloan-C, you can benefit from this shared knowledge and learn from your colleagues who are faced with the same challenges for moving into online learning — effectively prepared.


  • Increase and provide quality engagement in an online academic environment
  • Discussion thread design: threading, pace, sequencing discussion prompts, using Socratic
  • dialog, modeling reflective exchange, and closing down an exchange
  • Help students communicate clearly without the aid of nonverbal communication cues
  • Create exemplary exchanges


  • Workshop Instructor Goals
  • Common Faculty Questions
  • Faculty Goals
  • Faculty Beliefs
  • Faculty Challenges
  • Faculty Tips


Bill Pelz is Professor of Psychology at Herkimer County Community College. He joined the
faculty of HCCC in August of 1968. During his 37 years of service to HCCC he has served as Chair
of the Humanities and Social Science Division, Director of Distance Learning, and Coordinator of
the HCCC Internet Academy. In 1994 he was presented with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for
Excellence in Teaching, and in 2003 he won the Sloan Consortium Award for Excellence in Online
Teaching – both of which are most cherished prizes. Over the years Bill has published an
assortment of scholarly and academic articles, most recently focused on the area of student and
faculty satisfaction with asynchronous teaching and learning. His current research interest is in
isolating the pedagogical factors which influence student achievement in virtual learning

Dr. John Thompson is an Associate Professor at Buffalo State College in the Educational
Technology graduate program — http://www.buffalostate.edu/depts/edcomputing. He also operates

“I liked hearing from other online educators and it was good to compare notes and ask questions. I especially liked the discussions which gave me new ideas.”
July 2008 Workshop Participant