Discussion Forum Etiquette


Courtesy of Pixabay user mohamed_hassan

In an era where classes have switched to an online format and most discussions are taking place via Blackboard, it is becoming increasingly important to have basic discussion forum etiquette. Here are five tips for writing an effective discussion post:

  1. Get there early! Sometimes, there is nothing worse than getting to the discussion board with a great idea only to discover that someone already put your thoughts into words. By posting early, you are showing that you are willing to take initiative, and you don’t have to worry so much about someone already stating your idea.
  2. If time permits, give yourself enough time to genuinely think about what you would like to say in your discussion post and why you think it is worth discussing. It is a lot more difficult to write something substantive if you do not even like or know enough about your own topic!
  3. Consider speaking your thoughts out loud before typing them. Not only does this better replicate an actual discussion, but it helps prevent you from typing things that are redundant or do not actually contribute to the conversation. Consider using the microphone feature and the notes app on your phone to dictate your thoughts to words.
  4. Back up your claims with evidence, examples, or scenarios from your own experience. Using outside sources shows that you care enough to conduct extra research and it helps make your argument more effective. It can also be beneficial to cite direct quotes from the textbook or other readings to exemplify that you read carefully and are making connections to the text.
  5. Responding to a classmate is also an important consideration for writing effective discussion posts. You have probably heard this from all of your professors before, but simply replying “Yeah, I totally agree!” is not an effective discussion response. When replying to a classmate, consider asking yourself how you can further the discussion. What aspects of the post do you agree with? What do you disagree with? Why do you like or dislike pieces of your classmates’ original posts?

Not-so-strong response:

            I totally agree. I like how you analyzed X. Good post!

Strong response:

            I really like how you talked about X, but have you considered Y? In my post, I mentioned something similar, but I also think Y is also important to take into consideration. The reading also mentions Z-how do you think that factors in?

Ciara | Fall 2020