How to Succeed in Posting on the Discussion Post Board

Online discussion boards are considered one of the most effective methods used for testing students’ knowledge in a particular subject. Moreover, such platforms help organize online classes attendance allowing users to acquire new skills and learn to work in a team. It is necessary to admit that such boards engage many students. The main factor that makes them join an online community is that they have enough time to analyze the subject and then give a proper answer to the posed query. Nevertheless, one can gain the aforementioned advantages when following the directions established by the board. Certainly, using some keywords for developing ideas is rather helpful. However, it is necessary to know how to convey the message to users properly.

A good discussion board consists of three main components:

Basis

  1. Manage your time wisely to make a good start. Give students clear guidelines on how to access the discussion board and create posts. In addition, explain students what you expect from them. Note that your first entry should be focused on introducing yourself and presenting your goals. You need to provide some information about yourself, explain why you have decided to take a specific online course, and state what you already know about the subject.
  2. Indicate the number of board’s participants. One online group should include about 8-10 members. However, it depends on the academic discipline and class size. Small classes containing 20 or less students can be divided in half. If the group is very big, its members will answer the first several queries only and they will not be actively involved in discussing different issues with their classmates. At the same time, very small groups can be a real problem for generating ideas. Such groups are inappropriate for students who are eager to gain sound knowledge of a specific subject. The important thing one should bear in mind is that the online groups have to be organized in the right way, i.e. it is necessary to wait till all the lists of participants are completed. The posts that do not require any significant resources should be available to the whole class during the first week.
  3. Set the grading standards. Create sections that clearly highlight academic requirements for producing posts, i.e. word count, structure, writing methods, etc. Thus, students will know how to give correct and concise responses to the queries.

Control

  1. Set the communication model which students should follow. Announce the news related to the assignments regularly. In order to help students answer the posed questions in the right way, you should provide useful information relating to your academic course on time. Moreover, it is also worth giving good examples. Thus, students will understand what style their responses should be written in.
  2. Limit your role as a teacher. After providing relevant information and vivid examples, you should stay away from the online discussion for some time. It means you should give your students some freedom. Certainly, you can encourage the most passive students and guide them through the process. However, do not participate in the online dialogue too actively. You should let other students express themselves. Remember that not a single participant of the online discussion board should be ignored. If a particular group of students is rather enthusiastic, it can be useful to create a separate section for discussing the topics that do not relate to the course.
  3. Evaluation process. Students should assess each other when holding an online discussion. They should do it by following the instructions provided by the professor. Such an evaluation procedure will help students develop their communication skills and create better posts. After being evaluated, they will know what points to pay attention to when making their subsequent posts.

Establish a Clear Goal

Think about the skills you would like your students to acquire by participating in the online discussion board.

  1. What abilities would you like the students to develop? You need to know exactly what you want your students to be good at. Perhaps you want to teach them to conduct research and make statements supported with sound arguments. May be you aim to teach them to express their opinion about the issue they are dealing with. You can use the following models:
  • Divergent (foresee)
  • Convergent (what, why and how)
  • Assessing (support, present your opinion)
  1. Make students think. You should avoid posing questions that require the answer “yes” or “no.” Every student should make a useful contribution to a particular discussion. They should give a detailed response to a specific query and support their viewpoint with hard facts.
  2. Provide grading requirements. Bear in mind that students should be aware of the way you are going to grade them. That is why you need to attach the grading specifications to the online discussion board. If students know the evaluation parameters, they will strive to create flawless posts. The grading requirements will encourage students to analyze the queries in detail and give proper responses based on powerful evidence and not merely on one’s personal opinion.
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