You've enrolled in a college class! Yay!
If your course is online or hybrid, you're probably going to have lots of assignments that involve discussion boards.
Discussion Board Goals
Get to know and learn from your classmates
Make a good impression
Earn solid grades
What's The Purpose Of A Discussion Board?
Learn from your peers: Often your classmates will have a takeaway or perspective different from yours. Reading their posts can increase your understanding of the topic.
Engage with other students: By responding to each other's posts, you get to know your classmates even if your course is completely virtual.
Display your thoughts on class topics or readings: Your posts are expected to be well organized and provide your personal insight and understanding of the lesson.
Things To Do Before Posting
Review the entire assignment carefully. Most discussion assignments require you to read articles or chapters of your book first.
Read the discussion question. Be sure to keep it in mind as you read.
Paste the question into a Word/Google document (or write it down).
As you complete the readings, think about the discussion question and take notes in the documentor on paper.
Once you've finished the readings, look at the question again, compile your notes into a cohesive response, and post it!
Pro Tip: Post your discussion response well before the deadline so that you have plenty of time to interact with others.
Scenario: The Next Step
Jo is taking a Psychology class. This week's assignment directs students to read Chapter 3, review 2 articles, and watch a video clip.
Then students are to post their opinion of which psychologist is the most influential to psychology today and why.
What should Jo do next?
Read Chapter 3
Read classmates posts for ideas
Start posting their answer on the board
Make note of the question
Responding To Others
After you've posted, chances are you'll be responding to others' posts.
Your assigment will list how many peers you need to respond to. It's always ok to respond to more than required.
Read through most of the posts and select some that appeal to you.
Click "Reply", then write your response. It's best to begin with one thing you found notable about the post. Then add your own thoughts, questions, or a different perspective for consideration.
Examples Of Good Responses
Here are some sample responses to a person's post that says, "Sigmund Freud was the most influential psychologist of all time."
Dan, who agrees:
"I loved your explanation and I agree with you that Freud was the most influential. This quote from Chapter 3 (page 62) summed it up for me: [provides quote]. One way I think that Freud's work still resounds today is..."
Cody, who disagrees:
I agree that Freud's work was important, but to me his theories seem outdated. What I like about Carl Jung is that his theories are still relevant today. For example...
Maria, who isn't sure:
"I learned a lot from your post. I had a hard time deciding between Freud and Carol Gilligan because she is more contemporary and took into account a woman's perspective. I was wondering, is there a particular reason that you think Freud's work is more influential than hers?"
Colleen, who sees another side:
"You make a good point about the importance of Freud's work. Freud contributed as follows: [lists reasons]. However, Erik Erikson's work really struck a chord with me because..."
You're ready to participate thoughtfully in online discussions! You'll be surprised at how much you learn from your peers when you engage enthusiastically in discussion boards.
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This Byte has been authored by
Mary Ellen D'Intino
Instructional Designer | Social Worker