Great Tips for Students Posting in Online Class Discussion Boards
I am sure that most of us have, at some point, wondered how the discussion questions that are required by Ivy Bridge classes will be useful to us in the future. As an Ivy Bridge student, I readily admit that I sometimes had this very thought. However, as a graduate attending online classes through a different school, I now know that the discussions throughout my Ivy Bridge courses were infinitely more useful than I ever could have expected.
First, the discussion boards in the online format take the place of an important component of a traditional classroom setting. The discussion boards in the online classroom are equivalent to the in-class discussion that takes place in an actual classroom. The difference that I noticed is that classmates tend to be much more willing to “speak up” in the virtual setting, compared to speaking in a traditional class. Through the discussions, the information learned can be synthesized and clarified by working together with classmates.
Second, the discussion boards make up such a large portion of the time spent learning the material. My mom once asked me if I was really learning anything by taking online classes. After thinking about that for a minute, I determined that, yes, I was learning a great deal. It is just different than a traditional class structure. For example, I couldn’t rattle off a semester-long list of anatomy vocabulary since the rote memorization of material is not so important online. But I made connections between the material and my own life through the discussions with other classmates.
Finally, the discussion requirements during my time as an Ivy Bridge student laid the foundation habits that have aided my success as I work toward a bachelor’s degree. These habits are:
- Keeping track of my own responses to the discussion question and to the postings of my classmates: I keep track of these using tally marks in my planner. Doing this frees up time at the end of the week since I don’t have to count how many times I posted in each thread at the end of the week, and prevents losing grade points unnecessarily because I didn’t post enough.
- Responding throughout the week to classmate posts: This wasn’t a direct requirement while I was at Ivy Bridge, but it is now that I am a student with CityU of Seattle. Since I am already in the habit of doing my responses to others throughout the week, instead of waiting until Sunday, I didn’t even bat the proverbial eyelash when this became required.
- Citing references in discussion posts: This was sometimes required in my Ivy Bridge classes, and I have encountered this requirement in my current classes as well. It is never a bad idea to cite a reputable source that supports your argument or stance – it only lends strength to it!
- Saying more than “good job” or “I agree” when responding to classmates: If this is all you write, it does nothing to move the discussion forward. While at Ivy Bridge, I learned to always contribute something meaningful in any discussion post, a habit that has definitely served me well as I continue my education.
Basically, do not disregard the importance of the discussion questions. Even if the prompt seems obvious, easy, or pointless, put some time into your answer and responses. When the discussion boards are lively and interesting, the class takes on the same attributes and you, as the student,will ultimately gain more from the course!