Student-initiated Discussions in Groups with Rotating Student Roles

"Save the Last Word for Me" Discussion


You are required to participate in 8 weekly “Save the Last Word for Me” group discussions in the course, starting in Week 4 (Weeks 4-11). These discussions will take place in a forum called “Save the Last Word for Me”, which can be accessed by clicking Connect and then Discussions on the course navigation bar above. You will be placed into groups of 10 students by the end of the second week of term. To see which group you’re in, click Connect and then Groups on the course navigation bar above. If you are not in a group by the start of Week 3, please contact Technical Support at Technical support is available during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30AM to 4:30PM (Eastern Time). 

How do I participate?

1. Select Your Roles


For each weekly discussion, half of the group (n=5) will adopt the role of discussion “initiators.” As a discussion initiator, you are responsible for selecting a brief passage from the weekly readings that you feel is important and complex, and posting that passage for discussion in your weekly “Save the Last Word for Me” forum. Do not reveal why you think the passage is important. Simply select a passage and post it (don’t forget to cite it properly!). Do this by the deadline indicated on the Course Schedule (link to schedule: due date Monday at 11:55pm). 

The remaining 5 members of the group will act as responders. As a responder, you should post your responses to TWO of the posted passages, offering your interpretations. Try to post responses to passages that have less than two responses posted. Keep your responses short (i.e., under 200 words). Do this by the deadline indicated on the Course Schedule (link to schedule: due date Wednesday at 11:55pm). 

Back to Initiators for "The Last Word"

Initiators have the last word.  After reading the responses to your passages, initiators should post a final reaction (“the last word”) revealing your original interest in the passage and reflecting on what you learned from reading the interpretations from the two responders. Do this by the deadline indicated on the Course Schedule (link to schedule: due date Friday at 11:55pm). 

Students who act as initiators in one week should take the role of responder the next week, and vice-versa.  

2. Submit the Group Roles Schedule

Your first task as a group is to decide who will act as initiators and who will act as responders in each week (weeks 4-11). You may use the Week 3 discussion area to discuss this with your group. Your group will then appoint someone to complete the Group Roles Schedule (RTF) and submit it to the Group Roles Schedule Dropbox by the due date indicated on the Course Schedule (link to schedule: due end of Week 3). 

Sample Group Roles Schedule 

Weeks 4, 6, 8, 10Weeks 5, 7, 9, 11
Initiators  Responders  Initiators  Responders
Student A  Student B  Student B Student A
Student C Student D Student D Student C

3. Initiators get the ball rolling in Week 4. 

Initiators should post their passages by Monday Week 4 at 11:55PM, following the guidelines outlined above. Responders follow suit. 

4. Be Brief 

In online learning, group discussions take the place of in-class, face-to-face discussions, so think of them as an opportunity to dialogue with your classmates, rather than as an opportunity to show what you know about a topic. Monologues do not invite dialogue, so please keep your postings short (i.e., under 200 words). 

How is My Participation Graded? 

Your course instructor will read all posts but not participate in the discussion. The discussions are graded for participation. Your participation grade will be entered at the end of term. For full participation grades you should 

  • Be a discussion initiator four times
  • Be a discussion responder four times
    • As responder, you must post responses to two passages posted by initiators 


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