This session will focus on how discipline-specific writing can improve student outcomes such as critical thinking and communication skills. We will discuss methods to scale administering, grading and giving feedback on writing assignments in distance learning programs. I performed a study that compared 3 different writing/teaching methods using students from 3 sections of a junior-level psychology course; all students were taught 100% online and were given the same basic course content (ex. online lectures, quizzes, etc.). Group 1 used a discussion platform (Packback Questions) that implemented artificial intelligence (AI) to improve student writing. Specifically, students were required to follow guidelines about what makes a quality post. The AI would keep submissions not meeting the guidelines from being posted and would automatically give students reminders/suggestions to improve the submission. Group 2 used the standard LMS discussion platform (without the AI) and were instructed to follow the same guidelines as section 1. Group 3 was shown a sample discussion question and an ideal student answer each week. They were asked to independently write an answer and to compare their answer to the sample. Preliminary results indicate that students in section 1 (the AI group) perform better on writing tasks on exams.
• Understand how different discussion methods affect student outcomes such as engagement and exam grades.
• The ability to apply different discussion methods to distant learning courses.