Best Practices for Offering Choice Between Discussion Boards

Discussion created by 873179959 on Nov 14, 2019
Latest reply on Dec 17, 2019 by Sharmaine Regisford

Hello Community,


I have some courses where the instructor wants students to be able to choose between 2-3 graded discussion boards to participate in in a given week. What is the best way to do this so that it doesn't mess up the gradebook?


Option 1: differentiated assignments: Students would sign up in a separate wiki page to indicate which board they wanted to participate in, and then the instructor would go into the discussion board settings and assign that board to specific students.

   Downside: students can't view the other boards, and this is a pain to set up for the instructor


Option 2: Have all discussion boards assigned to everyone and worth the same number of points (say, 10 points each), and a student can just pop into the board they want to participate in, and you just give them a grade for the discussion board they did participte in. As long as you don't use the "treat ungraded as zero" option in the gradebook, it will only calculate a score for the board they do participate in and ignore the other discussion assignments when calcultating their final grade.

   Downside: You can't use "treat ungraded as zero" in the gradebook, and we use AspireEdu's Dropout Detective student analytics and support system, which will show them as "at risk" because it looks like they failed to complete an assigned item. instructors were just giving them 10 points on all three choice even though they only participated in one, just so it didn't mark them as missing an assignment, which skewed the relative value of that discussion board.


Option 3: Make them all ungraded discussions, and just have a separate assignment woth 10 points where the instructor would capture the grades for their participation that week.

   Downside: You couldn't use Speedgrader. The instructor would have to go into each board, look to see what the students posted in various boards, and then go back into the other assignment column in the gradebook to enter feedback and a grade.  Also, the boards themselves wouldn't show up on a student's to-do list. If they clicked on the assignment in their to-do list, it wouldn't bring them to the boards.


Option 4: Group Discussion: Set up the discussion as a group discussion board, assign students to the different groups, and just make sure each group knew which topic they were discussing. 

   Downside, this still has the same set-up hassles as the differentiated assignments option, and they couldn't see what the other groups were saying. Plus, you'd have to find a way to make sure each group knew which prompt was assigned to them.


Does anyone have a better idea? I wish Canvas had some way for students to self-select and assign.