How to Write a Discussion Post

Discussion posts are an inevitable part of online classes. Students need to understand how to write a discussion post and how to post it on a discussion board.

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The invent of digital devices has transformed many aspects of life that include the mode of learning. Online learning has become a common method of learning in many institutions across the globe. Students can take online classes from the comfort of their home and instructors alike can teach their students online.

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Online discussions

Online classes differ from the traditional classroom in different aspects. For instance, in a traditional classroom, there are face-to-face interactions among students and between the students and instructors. These discussions help in the interaction of the instructor and learners with the aim of facilitating learning. Discussions are integral in the learning process, and online learning does not ignore the significance of discussions in learning.

When it comes to online classes, discussions and interactions between an instructor and students happen via discussion board assignments. Students should write discussion posts and post them on the discussion board. All the parties in the online class can view the posts on a discussion board and hence make discussion possible. This article seeks to expound how to write a discussion post.

What are discussion posts?

Discussion posts refer to the manner in which students and instructors interact in an online class setup. They are more like the traditional classroom discussions except that students write their ideas and thoughts. One of the many benefits of online classes is that even students who are rather shy to participate in traditional classroom discussions can express their opinions actively. That makes discussion posts a critical element in online classes.

What is a discussion board?

Also known as a message board or discussion forum, a discussion board refers to an online bulletin board where one can leave messages and view other messages that other individuals have left. There are many discussion boards that users can access on the Internet. Websites also offer discussion boards where users can hold online discussions.

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Benefits of discussion boards

Discussion boards are helpful to students in the following ways:

  • Students continue with class discussions outside the traditional classroom and within normal school time.
  • All students should participate in the discussion hence making class discussions more democratic.
  • Shy students get an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions openly.
  • Students have the time to think about their answer before posting it for the rest of the classmates and instructor.
  • Discussion boards offer students the opportunity to learn from their peers.
  • They nurture a learning community through constant collaboration and interaction

How to write a discussion post

Students who are taking online classes will inevitably have to write discussion posts. Therefore a student should seek to understand what a discussion post is, what it entails, and how to write a discussion post. You will be expressing your ideas and thoughts in a written manner. Therefore, you want to ensure that your discussion posts are well-thought-of and professional. The instructor will grade your online class performance through your discussion posts. Some of the ways on how to write a discussion post include:

Understand the prompt

Like any other writing assignment, you need to prepare adequately for your discussion post. The preparation process includes reading the discussion post guidelines and prompts. After understanding what the instructor requires from you, you can begin on the research process. You can refer to the course materials, e-books, and other online sources. The purpose of your research is to understand the assignment more and thus come up with a strong argument for your discussion post. The more research you carry out, the more detailed and solid your discussion post will be. It is important to note all the sources you used in your research as you should integrate them in your answer.

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Make reference to the scoring rubric

Discussion boards should have a scoring rubric. Every instructor should share the scoring rubric with the learners. The scoring rubric covers critical analysis, quality of writing, writing etiquette, and online class participation. When you have the rubric, you should consider working backwards. The scoring rubric gives you an idea of how the instructor will be grading your discussion post. You should give special attention to the prerequisites for getting the highest grades. Your discussion post should reflect these prerequisites. Cross-check your discussion post to see it meets the scoring rubric before submitting the post.

Present examples

When writing essays, instructors expect you to provide evidence to support your claims. The same case applies when presenting discussion posts. Your post can have as many claims as you need. However, every claim should have its separate and solid evidence. Evidence helps the arguments in your discussion posts come out strongly and effectively. Therefore, gather that evidence; it may be documentary, anecdotal, or statistical and incorporate it into your discussion post. Remember to use the quotations when citing sources and stating the evidence.

Draft your answer

Most students taking online classes write the discussion post on their portal and send it. While this may show that you are confident in the work you are writing, it is not advisable to use that approach. Consider drafting your discussion post on a text editor and reviewing it before sending it. That approach allows you to assess the flow of your ideas, correct any form of errors, and cross-check the quality of your work. Discussion posts are more like student participation discussions in online classes. That does not mean that they are any less type of academic writing, and they should be professional.

Be clear

Does the length of your discussion post matter? Some students believe that presenting long discussion posts will make the other students and the instructor notice their work. Lengthy discussion posts are tiring to read and may do you more harm than good. The most important qualities of a good discussion post are the insights in the post and the quality of the piece. Chances are you will not have many chances to express yourself in online classes. Therefore, focus on making your discussion post clear in the first attempt. You can ensure your post is clear by organizing your ideas before creating a draft post. Also, ensure that you use simple language when delivering accurate answers.

Timely Responses

Just as traditional classes have time limitations, online discussions are time-bound. Late responses have a negative impact on the overall grade. Therefore, once you get a request to contribute to an online discussion, ensure that you give a prompt discussion board response. Also, note that you will be responding to other people’s posts and answering questions. Even if you have a great urge to respond fast, hold your comments first. It is best that you send your discussion post first and then focus on other discussion posts and building arguments. Submitting your discussion post when the deadline is almost nullifies the intention of holding discussions for online classes.

Best practices for an online discussion forum for students

When holding online discussions, students should embrace good practices when passing their point and responding to other people’s opinions. One should learn these practices when learning how to write a discussion post.

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Responding to discussion posts

Besides knowing how to write a discussion post, you need to know how to respond to discussion posts by your classmates. A discussion would be incomplete if each student posted their discussion post and sat back. Every student needs to fuel their discussion with their input to come up with a productive conclusion. Some of the things to keep in mind when responding to discussion points include:

Remain in context

When expressing your opinion, ensure that write it in context. The opinion could be an agreement or disagreement, but that does not mean it should be out of context. The argument should correlate with your syllabus and course content. Indicate clearly the aspect of the discussion post that your response is targeting. Your response should also be short and straight to the point. That way, you will not drift the attention of everyone from the discussion post and make the discussion worthless.

Make a meaningful response

The aim of an online discussion is to put a point across and not appraise another person’s post. Although you may agree with another post, give your unique view by adding an anecdote to build the conversation. Instructors need to understand your point of view on the subject, and your response should indicate that. Remember to back your point of view with evidence. The evidence on a college discussion board can be a link, meme photo, video, or an audio clip.

Show respect

It is a requirement to be respectful when holding a discussion in any of the student discussion forums. The same should apply when you are holding a discussion in an online class. Some of the ways to be respectful in online discussions are to use professional language in presenting your post, not taking arguments personally, and respecting other people’s opinions. An often overlooked aspect when learning how to write a discussion post is the use of all caps. A text with all caps comes out as rude and as one who is shouting.

Ask questions

There is no such thing as a foolish or unnecessary question when holding a discussion. It is a great idea to end a post with a question which will push the discussion further. The question can be thoughtful in the sense that you want to understand the reasons behind an explanation or a follow-up question which is a request for further clarification. Your questions should encourage all the parties in the discussion to think and thus add value to the discussion. Asking questions shows that you are interested in fuelling the discussion, and you are following the discussion closely.

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How to hold an online discussion in Google Classroom

When taking online classes, instructors and students can use online tools such as a Google Group Web Forum and a Google+ Community together with Google Classroom for a meaningful discussion. Here are the 3 ways you can hold online discussions:

The common thread in Google Classroom assignment

Every assignment on Google Classroom has a public comment thread. Any comment in this thread is visible to all individuals in the Classroom. Pasting a discussion post on this comment thread is the most convenient way to hold a discussion. After pasting the discussion post, a student should tick the ‘Mark as Done’. Students should not attach anything to the Classroom assignment. The instructor will receive an email notification when the student does that, and he or she can then grade the student. Another benefit of the comment thread is that individuals in the Classroom can mention each other when holding the discussion. When one is mentioned, they receive discussion board prompts, encouraging them to follow on the discussion.

Using a Google group

You can hold an online discussion using a Google group. A great choice for a Google group is a web forum. The web forum acts as a private discussion board for the online discussion. The advantage of a web forum over the comment thread is that the discussions in a web forum are more organized and there is minimal clutter. The process of setting a discussion in a Google group is as follows:

Create a post in the Google group.

There is an allowance to create a new post in a Google group. Every post has a unique URL.

Copy the post’s URL

Copy the URL of the post you just created and paste it a link of a new assignment in Google classroom. Students will then click the link to be part of the discussion.

More reasons to use a Google group web forum include:

  • The participants get a notification of every new activity in the group forum.
  • The instructor can add members to the group directly instead of sending invitations.
  • Group members can subscribe to certain posts that they are interested in.
  • The Google group forum is private and can only be accessed by the group participants.

Using a Google+ Community

Google users who are above the age of 13 can use a Google+ Community. A Google+ Community refers to a social network by Google, and one should install the application on their digital device. The instructor creates the private Google+ Community to hold online discussions and share resources. The Google+ Community works like the Google Group forum in terms of sharing the link and holding discussions. The advantage of Google+ Community over Google Group is that one can access the Google+ Community on the go.

How do you engage students in online discussions?

Some of the proven ways to engage students in online discussions include:

Invite a guest

Adding an extra person to the online discussion can be exciting for students. The guest has their unique point of view, which may encourage the students to think more. You can create a questionnaire with questions that you may find useful in engaging with the guest. Also, consider the introduction questions that the guest may have for the students on the discussion board.

Create a place for off-topic conversations

Although the purpose of an online discussion is to further online classes, allow room for off-topic conversations. This is important as instructors introduce off-topic conversations on traditional classes. Off-topic conversations give students an opportunity to socialize and motivates them to continue with the discussion. Furthermore, students will not have room to bring in off-topic conversations when discussing the real class discussions.

Introduce a little controversy

You may get to a point where students cannot come to an agreement and thus create tension in the online classroom. In that case, you may consider bringing up a controversial topic. The controversial topic could be about a trending item, news headlines or a new development. The controversy will help students focus and channel their energy to the online discussion, which is what they should do.

Give feedback

It is important that you keep track of all questions and comments from all the participants and respond to all of them. Feedback makes the student feel like they are making an important contribution. You can send a private message to students who are not doing well in their discussion and guide them accordingly. Be careful not to play favorites to some students as that can show bias.

Assign moderators

After holding discussions, you can opt to assign a student moderator. The role of the moderator is to facilitate the discussion. The students should also pick the discussion topics and how they should go about it. Change the student moderator regularly to avoid seeming like you are favoring one student. These responsibilities encourage students to be responsible and to learn from each other.

Writing discussion posts for your online class is not just about presenting your ideas and thoughts to the instructor and fellow students. The instructor will analyze your discussion posts, and the results will impact your overall grade. Therefore from the moment you start doing research for your discussion point, drafting the post, and finalizing the copy, keep in mind that the discussion post will affect your grade. If you need guidance on how to write a discussion post and discussion board templates, visit myhomeworkwriters.com for expert tips and guidelines. You can also seek help from My Homework Writers in writing a discussion post that will add value to your online discussion and get you good grades.

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