Discussing Risk and Return

Educator incorporates online discussion to foster a reflective conversation about risk and return.
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Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Apply for a micro-credential before December 22nd, 2017 for a $75 Amazon gift card!*

*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator recognizes the value of constructivist learning and promotes reflective thinking by encouraging students to engage their peers in an online discussion about risk and return.

Method Components

Components of an online discussion

  • Every discussion should have a goal. Online discussions can be used to introduce a topic, engage students in critical thinking, expose them to multiple viewpoints during instruction, prompt students to reflect upon what they have learned, and extend and apply course content to new situations. Since the goal of this micro-credential is reflection and application, the online discussion should take place after instruction.
  • The discussion should begin with a prompt or series of prompts (from which students can choose). Questions should be “open” (have more than one factual answer) and engage students in deep thinking and analysis (See pages 5-6 of the Teacher Stream article and page 5 of the Teaching Effectiveness Program article in the Resources section for question types).
  • Set specific deadlines for students’ contributions and create expectation guidelines for content, length and number of responses, and style. Students should be aware of how they will be assessed, which can be communicated with a rubric (See the Brown University and Teaching Effectiveness Program articles in the Resources section) or specified in an initial discussion post.

Suggested Implementation

  1. Create at least one prompt to begin the online discussion that engages students in risk and return content.
  2. Create the scoring rubric and expectations and share with the students.
  3. Monitor the discussion as it progresses, providing model responses and questions for further clarification of student responses when necessary.
  4. Encourage students to engage the ideas of other students when writing their replies.
  5. Have students complete a separate reflection when the discussion is completed.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

An online forum allows for the exchange of different ideas and the inclusion of personal experience, and enables students to learn from each other (DeCristofaro, 2014). While reflection is often the “first thing to go” during instruction when time is running out, it helps students solidify their thinking, make connections, synthesize course concepts, and deepen their understanding (Balaji and Chakrabarti, 2010). Online discussions have been proven to increase participation, stimulate engagement, and provide an opportunity for students to gain stronger understanding of course topics (DeCristofaro, 2014; Balaji and Chakrabarti, 2010). With students increasingly using the Internet, teachers of financial literacy can utilize these familiar platforms to engage students.

  • Balaji, M. S., and Diganta Chakrabarti. “Student Interactions in Online Discussion Forum: Empirical Research from ‘Media Richness Theory’ Perspective.” Journal of Interactive Online Learning 9.1 (2010): 1-22. Journal of Interactive Online Learning. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.



  • “Designing Online Discussions: Key Questions.” Brown University. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
  • Teacher Stream. “Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation.” Edutopia. N.p., 2009. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.

Risk and Return

Sample Lesson Plan

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1,3, and 4, and a “Yes” for both artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(300-word limit):

  • What steps were taken to instruct students about risk and return before the online discussion?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Submit the prompt(s) designed by the educator to begin the online discussion about risk and return.

Also submit one excerpt of the discussion that contains at least four student comments. Of these four or more responses, at least two should show where students directly engaged with the ideas of another student.

Part 3. Student Reflection

(200-word limit):

Provide two written reflections from students who participated in the activity used for submission of Part 2. Use the following question as guidance:

  • How did engaging your peers in the online discussion help you better understand risk and return?

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

(300-word limit):

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance:

  • How did this technique help you communicate this personal finance content to your students?
  • Which other personal finance topics can this teaching technique be used for in the classroom?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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