CREST+ model: writing effective online discussion questions

Lynn Akin, Diane Neal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on online classes strongly identifies participation as a positive variable. Research on online teaching also reveals the time intensive practices involved with providing individualized attention and feedback. An online instructor must negotiate the balance between being responsive and managing time effectively. To that end, writing sound discussion questions, based on a model, is one way to invite and increase participation and maximize the time element. The CREST+ model, a model for writing effective online discussion questions, covers the cognitive nature of the question, the reading basis, any experiential possibility, style and type of question, and finally ways to make a good question last. This model encourages students to participate in online forum discussions, provides a template for new online faculty to use in creating effective discussion questions, and promotes a higher level processing of the material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Online Learning and Teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2007


  • asynchronous discussions
  • constructivist learning
  • discussion forums
  • facilitated discourse
  • models
  • online community
  • online education
  • student engagement
  • instructor immediacy


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