MANIC Online Discussions

I recently read an interesting article that described an instructional technique used to improve online discussions.  In the article, “Facilitating Online Discussions at a MANIC Pace: A New Strategy for an Old Problem”, authors Curry and Cook review research from past educators and identify pros and cons to online discussions.  The authors reveal a new strategy, called MANIC, that can be used by educators to facilitate quality online discussions. 

MANIC is a set of five questions that each student must complete in regards to the content or topic of the discussion.  The specific five questions include:

  1. What is most important?
  2. What do you agree with?
  3. What do you not agree with?
  4. What was most interesting?
  5. What is most confusing?

These questions encourage students to think deeper about the topic or concept and highlight conflict as a way to get students engaging in deeper conversations.  Although Curry and Cook indicate that no formal studies have proven the effectiveness of this technique, they do provide examples from their use and highlight the benefits they have found. They found that by using the MANIC technique, students were able to build and expand greatly on questions and thoughts.  Using this technique also helped foster a close-knit learning community where student began to rely on each other for information and their learning.

For more information on this online discussion technique, the article can be found at:

One thought on “MANIC Online Discussions

  1. I have a similar approach when the students are assigned to read a chapter and discuss it: 1. what are one or two ideas you gleaned from the reading you would like to share with others? 2. what ideas do you agree or disagree with and why? and 3. how is this information relevant to your personal and/or professional life?

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