Have you ever been in a serious discussion or long chat and when the discussion was going on, you felt so much was been said but after it, you couldn’t identify much that you really learnt? This becomes even more critical when this discussion is done online. Either it’s a synchronous chat session that lasted 1 or 2 hours, or it’s an asynchronous discussion forum that has been on for 2 to 3 weeks; the meat of the discussion may be lost if proper summaries are not written.
The Art of writing good summaries is one of the skills a good online facilitator must have. If major points in discussions won’t be lost, then facilitators must learn how to write a good summary from an online discussion or chat.
What is a Summary?
A summary is a collection of main points (or detailed notes) of a discussion. At the very best, it ends with a leading question for further discussion. This is basically for reflection or keeping the discussion on. A summary can be in different forms depending on the purpose of writing it. A summary can basically be written either to draw a conclusion and wrap up a discussion or to reenergize a discussion by ending with a question for further interaction.
As part of learning to use an online tool called Padlet, I created this wall here and asked colleagues to share their strategies for writing a great online summary. They were quite helpful and posted some interesting thoughts on the wall on this subject. The image below is a snapshot of their various thoughts on the subject. Click the image to open the view-only wall.
Collaborating on a Padlet Wall
Have you used any of these strategies? What other strategies have you used when writing a summary of an online discussion? Share your other strategies in the comment section below!