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Tips for Online Discussion

  • Refer to your instructor’s suggestions regarding how to use discussion boards or fora in your class.
  • Moving to online teaching and learning is new for many instructors and students, and many of us are concerned about losing or missing the connections we feel in face-to-face instruction settings. To allow engagement in this environment:  
    • Share aspects of your personality in your communications, while also being professional. This could occur through sharing your video feed in online discussion or chats, sharing personal experiences as relevant, or using a picture associated with your posts on a tool such as Slack.
    • Acknowledge others. When posting to a discussion board, try to connect your comments to the thread so that it is more of a conversation than a bunch of individual posts.
    • Write posts that are substantive. Saying “I agree” in an asynchronous discussion board does not allow for much discussion or engagement. Explain why you agree or disagree with a point, or post something that is on-topic and stimulates new thoughts.
    • Disagreement is ok! An engaged conversation will involve agreement and disagreement with ideas. As long as people treat each other with respect through their interactions, disagreement is a normal part of learning and discussion.
    • Be open. Part of why you are taking classes is to learn. Be open to new ideas, to being wrong, and to other perspectives.
    • Be appropriate and polite. Try to engage with others the way you would in a face-to-face class, even though you are in a different environment for your learning at this time.