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Fall 2022 - Volume 25, Issue 3

From the Editor

Dear Readers,

Let's have a discussion.

Suppose we are in the classroom together today and we're discussing the Supreme Court (I teach American Government). I ask you whether or not you think that there should be term limits for justices. Hopefully, a lively debate ensues amongst us and we consider new opinions from one another. There are no right or wrong answers. And I don't think that any of you provided a citation in stating your thoughts.

Now move this same question to the online classroom. Too often, a discussion will ask for a regurgitation of the content and citations from the readings. Answers will become redundant and stilted (you KNOW what I'm talking about), leaving students disengaged. This is not a discussion - it's an assignment!

As we continuously improve and look for better ways to engage students and make their online learning meaningful (and successful), we must get out of old mindsets when it comes to course development. Discussions should truly be interactive and fluid. Assignments clearly should be used as well, but carefully curated. Content offered must be focused and we must refrain from throwing in every possible redundant link and resource that we can find.

These simple measures to increase student interest and avoid overwhelming them are easily achieved without compromising learning. In fact, the inverse may be true. Simple truly is best, although it is incredibly difficult for many of us to achieve.

On a related note, the call for proposals for our annual Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World (February in Savannah) is open. I hope to see you there for many, many authentic discussions.

Peace to all, Melanie

Melanie N. Clay, Ph.D.
OJDLA Editor-in-Chief

September 15, 2022