Discussion participation

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Discussion Participation

The primary teaching and learning activity in this class is active participation in student-led discussions for each module topic in the course. In these discussions, each student poses "critical thinking" questions based on some important issue from the course readings, then facilitates a class discussion on that issue.

For these discussions, each student must facilitate a discussion based upon their questions, and also participate in the discussions facilitated by other students. By being an active "discussant" in the specified content-related discussions per topic, each student must engage in depth with the content of every module.

  • Reply
  • Add a topic
  • display discussion topic posts
  • subscribe to discussions

Academic Integrity - For these discussions, your post should be your personal description of why YOU think this web article is important. You are providing the link so others can go to the article and read the information there. Why is it worth their time to check out the site that you are recommending? Many students are uncomfortable posting their own words and it is tempting to just copy and paste the description of a web article from information on the site. If you do this you must put it in quotes and acknowledging that these are the words of others. If you are copying something - say so. The original author has a right to the credit. That is what academic integrity is all about.

Posting Your Comments

Your discussion posts must introduce relevant, new information. Your job here is to provide new information which is appropriate to the issue being discussed.

  • Is your comment accurate?
  • Is it relevant to the issue under discussion?
  • Have you taught us anything new?
  • Have you added to the academic atmosphere of this course?

It is OK to respond with non-informative comments. In fact, sometimes it is a good idea to thank someone for their assistance or simply let them know that you agree with what they have said. Non-academic comments such as these can add valuable social presence to the course, and help to create a sense of collegiality. However, only comments that add knowledge will be graded.

If you copy/paste information from websites or other sources, you must say that this is a quote and provide the citation.

Facilitating an Online Discussion

In most of the modules, each student must facilitate discussions based on a website and/or the chapter topic.

Start with a good "critical thinking" question - one that requires readers to really think about the issue being discussed. Your question should be open-ended so replies can not be Yes or No.

As other students respond to your question, reply to their comments. The idea is to get a discussion going - more than just a couple of comments. Consider answering a question with another question.

Facilitate a discussion - Write a question based on your reading from the textbook and post it to the discussion. Participate in at least 2 other dicussions. In the discussions, consider these questions. What is the impact on society? Why is this important?

Write a discussion question for this chapter of the textbook. Read the questions already posted, and do not repeat a question asked by another student. Your question should relate directly to an issue discussed in the text, and should require a thoughtful response. Don't ask a question which can be answered by looking the answer up. Attitude, opinion, and application questions usually get thoughtful responses. Participation in a student led discussion consists of the following 4 steps:

  • Post your original question in Student Discussion Questions . This must be done within the first two days the module is active. This will be your topic - you will be the discussion leader. Your job is to facilitate this discussion and get as much information from the other participants as you can that relates to the question you have asked.
  • Read the questions posted by the other students, and respond to at least two of them. Choose the topics you think will be the most interesting and beneficial to you. You will be a participant in these discussions. Provide another viewpoint or add additional information. Your responses should be 2-3 sentences.
  • Respond to every student who responds to you. Do this in your own topic as well as the other topics you are participating in.
  • Continue participating in the threads until the module is over.

Note: If other students are not selecting your thread to participate in, perhaps it is because your question is too complex, confusing, or uninteresting. In this case, submit another question.

Discussion Grading

Many discussion topics are "assignments" posted to the discussions so there is more visibility for your work and an opportunity for class discussion about important topics that are highlighted in your work.

There are multiple discussion topics within the Discussion forum for each module in the course. Your discussion participation grade for the week is the sum of the individual topic posting grades.

Each week, there are points for the quantity and quality of your posts. If you have participated in all the discussions as outlined in the Assignments, and your posts are on-time, thoughtful, and expressed in college level writing, your discussion participation grade for the week will be recorded as the maximum for the week's discussion participation.

You will not get full points for any of the following reasons.

  • You do not include all the required elements
  • There are significant writing problems
  • The submissions are late

This is a pretty general overview, so if you have specific questions about a discussion grade, please ask.

Discussion Rubric

Grading Criteria

  • Excellent - The comment is accurate, original, relevant, teaches us something new, and is well written. Full credit comments add substantial teaching presence to the course, and stimulate additional thought about the issue under discussion.
  • Above Average - The comment lacks at least one of the above qualifiers, but is above average in quality. A comment makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the issue being discussed.
  • Average - The comment lacks 2-3 of the required qualities. Comments which are based on personal opinion often fall within this category.
  • Minimal - The comment presents little or no new information. However, comments may provide important social presence and contribute to a collegial atmosphere.
  • Unacceptable - The comment adds no value to the discussion. Late after the module was completed, for example.

Informal Discussions

The course includes formal class discussions relating to weekly topics. We start with Introductions.

But what about all the casual discussions? Just like you chat with other people in your on-campus classes, you need to have a way to communicate with your online classmates. There are discussion areas setup for your use.

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