Learning Activity

Prompt-based open discussion

Stimulate diverse perspectives and engage students with open-ended discussion prompts
Created by Pedagogy Team at FeedbackFruits
Learning outcome:
Critical thinking
Prep time:
Intermediate (10-30 min)
Activity type(s):

Why this learning activity?

Learning activities targeting high-order skills like this one can help you activate students more effectively. This activity will help you with:

Information synthesis and evaluation

Students will learn to think critically on course topics and develop informed opinions on them.

Collaborative learning

Students will demonstrate effective collaboration and communication skills through their interactions with peers and contributions to group assignments.

Peer learning

By discussing the prompts together, students will learn from each other's knowledge and discussion skills.


Activity steps

1. Read instructions: Go through the instructions to understand the activity requirements. Note any guidelines or criteria provided by the instructor.

2. Create posts: Create your initial posts based on the discussion topics provided. Use the tool's features to submit text, audio, or video posts as specified.

3. Discuss with your peers: Engage in discussions by commenting on and responding to your peers' posts. Use the platform to have meaningful conversations and provide constructive feedback.

4. Select the most valuable contributions: Review the contributions from your peers and select the ones you found most valuable. This helps in recognizing insightful inputs and promotes active participation.

Activity setup

FeedbackFruits tool(s) used:

Engagement in online courses is not always easy, but discussion boards are a great way to get students to interact with one another, as well as strengthen knowledge retention through more active learning.

Whilst designing discussions there are a few things we should keep in mind to ensure that the  interactions in discussions can strengthen the collaborative learning environment.

One goal of discussions is to further activate students, we can do this by going beyond remembering and understand information, towards analysing, evaluating and constructing new ideas or thoughts with the knowledge they’ve gained in a course.

Tip: Create open-ended questions, so each student can share their individual perspectives, and there is no right or wrong answer. Below you can see a template for questions that guide students towards synthesis and evaluation.

In this Activity:

  • The instructor defines a prompt that students are to discuss,
  • Students post an initial response (you can set the contributions requirements, and the amount of responses to be made by students to their peers. These can be pre-allocated peers or at the students own choosing.)
  • We recommend choosing to require at least one post from students, and interaction with at least two other student contributions. Finally students can also rate the most valuable contribution.

Notable settings:

  • Student collaboration: Post individually, discuss individually
  • Required post: 1
  • Required length of posts: at least 80 words
  • Anonymity: Off
  • Students participate in: freeform discussion
  • Required number of peer discussion: 2
  • Guiding students step 3:
    1. Read Carefully: Start by fully understanding the student's viewpoint.
    2. Acknowledge the Student: Begin with a friendly greeting.
    3. Agree or Disagree: Express agreement or disagreement politely.
    4. Provide Support: Back your stance with evidence or examples.
    5. Add Insights: Contribute new ideas or information related to the topic.
    6. Ask Questions: Encourage further discussion with open-ended questions.
    7. Stay Respectful: Maintain a positive and respectful tone.
    8. Proofread: Check for errors before posting.
    9. Conclude Thoughtfully: Summarize your points and invite more discussion.
    10. Follow Guidelines: Adhere to forum rules if any.

Remember, brevity can be effective in online discussions while still conveying your thoughts clearly.

  • Select most valuable contributions: exactly 1
  • Guiding students step 4: You are invited to select valuable contributions to your discussions. This can be yours or one of your peers. Your teacher will then grade the contribution. This steps is worth 5 % of your final grade.

Recommended rubrics for this activity

Evaluate research paper language | FHSU

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Evaluate research content of academic paper

Rubric template to assess the research topic and selected information of an academic paper

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