Discussion Forums

November 18th, 2010

Good Thursday everyone! One week from today is Thanksgiving and that can only mean that Fall Semester is winding down. I hope you are all having a good semester and your classes are going well. Please keep in mind that it is important to maintain contact with your instructor and ask any questions that you have.

I wanted to take a little time to talk about a feature of online courses that almost all instructors make use of; Discussion Forums or threaded discussions. In a threaded discussion either the instructor or one of your classmates starts a discussion with a question or topic and it is expected that members of the class (or group if the instructor has chosen to divide the class into groups) contribute thoughts and opinions about that topic or answer the question. Instructors will look to be sure that your contribution is substantive meaning that you are actually adding something of substance to the discussion. Simply agreeing with something mentioned earlier is not substantive nor is just answering yes or no. Instructors will look to see if you are using research, facts, and material from class to back up your responses and show that you understand the concept being discussed. Finally instructors will be looking at how you interact with your classmates and if you are respectful of their views when disagreeing with them or coming up with alternative answers. In other words treat people as you would want to be treated and treat them as if you were speaking face to face with them. For many online classes, the Discussion Forum constitutes your participation grade for the course and this can be a significant part of the overall grade for the course so it is important to approach your interactions in the forums with the above points in mind.

As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact your instructor, your Academic Advisor, or me and we’ll be glad to help. We all want you to be successful in your online courses.

Tom