How to Write a Thoughtful Discussion Post
So you’re new to an online class and have to write a discussion post. What are some things you should keep in mind? What are the important things to focus on?
Making sure your posts are on time is important. On time does not mean on the day the discussion post is due (per course deadlines). Trying to post a couple of days before the deadline will allow you to engage in a discussion with your peers rather than just commenting on another post at the last minute.
Asking a Question at the End
In order to engage in an active discussion with your peers, asking a question at the end of your post could help stir up some discussion. Your question could either be a question you had at the end of the reading, or something that you wanted to know others’ views on.
How to Comment
Rather than just telling someone that you liked what they had to say or simply that you agree, providing some insight into what you thought will be more likely to spark discussion. Instead of saying, “John I really liked your post and I completely agree” you could say something along the lines of, “John, while I agree with you regarding your point on…I think that we should also examine it from this perspective. For instance, ….”. If you just state your agreement with a peer’s post, your professor will think that you did not devote much time to writing the post.
Most professors provide a prompt alongside the discussion post. This may take the form of questions they’d like you to answer, or it may consist of some things your professor would like you to think/reflect on. Make sure you are answering the prompt, not just rambling to fulfill a word count or make your post seem lengthy.
A thesis statement is useful as it allows the readers to know what you are talking about. However, unlike with a standard paper where your thesis statement comes at the end, it should come at the beginning. This will allow the reader to immediately know what you are addressing so that you can jump right into your main points.
Don’t Do All of Your Posts on One Day
I know, some of you may want to get the assignment over with. However, you want to be able to respond to the prompt in a meaningful way as well as respond meaningfully to your peers. Wait and see if there are posts that you could provide counter-points for. By waiting, you may be able to engage more in the class as well as have more thoughtful discussions with your peers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Disagree
I know it may seem like you are in the classroom so you should not argue with a fellow student’s point. However, there are professional and tactful ways of explaining your disagreement without being abrasive. Start with what you agree with then you could add “but” towards the second part of the sentence. For instance, “Nicole, I agree with you on this point, but…” and explain what you thought on the topic. Always provide details to support your point.
Make sure you are using proper spelling and grammar. Do not use texting language. While this is an informal setting in comparison to writing a formal essay, it is still for a class/grade and you want to present yourself professionally.
Now you’ll be ready to write some great discussion posts; get posting! 🙂