This year, we have started class meetings and have had a binder to record issues. Time to bring that notion up to the 21st century!
I created a "Class Meets" discussion forum. Here is how to do it:
1. Click on Discussions in the top bar.
2. Click "New" and then select "New Forum" from the drop down menu.
3. Give your forum a title. I called mine Class Meets, since that is what our binder version is called.
4. Put in your description.
I then allow the students the option to post anonymously. You do this by using the checkbox at the bottom. This allows them to bring up an issue without being named. Only the teacher can see who posted it. I also use the check box for moderation of comments. This is to ensure that it doesn't turn into a he-said, she-said blame game on the discussion forum.
5. Since I don't want the discussion just to be about classroom and school problems, I created two topics within my forum. To do this, select the drop down arrow beside your newly created forum name. Select "Add Topic".
I now have two topics open to discussion. The World Issues discussion is for sharing news and happening, current events if you will. Students are encouraged to include links to news items for others to view.
We will still have discussions in class meetings in my classroom. Nothing can beat the face-to-face venue. However, some of the more reluctant students can now have their say.
It has already been put to use. A student came to me with an issue that they wanted to bring up on the down-low. I suggested he/she could post it in the discussion and remain anonymous to classmates and my suggestion was immediately acted upon. Now, I can show the discussion post to start the conversation in our meeting, without the individual student being identified or put on the spot.