Start by establishing your learning objectives for the online discussion and identifying how they relate to the course goals. Communicate these objectives and their relation to the course to the students to motivate them to participate and monitor their own progress. Remember to consider how you will determine if the discussion is successful and students are learning.
Expose student misconceptions and questions
Situate abstract tasks into authentic context
Identify key-concepts in a reading or practice close reading
Extend or apply issues developed in the course
Prepare for an in-class discussion; e.g., students can reflect on the readings, answer simple questions, solve simple problems, review concepts, or compare experiences