|The Discussion Board is a
very important component of your class, whether it be English
composition or reading, Student Success or Career Exploration. For composition,
it's a part of your
writing and often may become a part of your essays. For the
reading class, it's a way for you to test what you get from the
readings and a way I can know what you are understanding and
what you aren't. In the Student Success class, it gives you a
chance to present more journal writing and test
out your ideas. For all the classes, this is the
equivalent of in-class discussion.
In many university classes,
homework may be assigned but never checked. Having done the
homework means you are prepared for the discussions, which can bring
forth even more ideas and revelations. You must do the
homework I assign you before using the discussion board.
Doing your first round of discussion responses by Thursday gives you time to read and yet is early enough in the week that
you can respond to other students' comments later on. Do the readings as
if you're going to have a quiz on them. Take notes; annotate.
Then think about them. In some cases, I'll ask you to journal
or freewrite about the ideas the readings bring up.
| I provide a page
with the discussion topics each week so you'll have them all listed
on one page. (You
can find the link on the Weekly Map. Print it out as reference.) To make your prewriting time
more efficient, take a moment to relax. Slow yourself down.
Loosen up your muscles. Breathe deeply, looking at something
just a few inches from your eyes (like your nose! It's best if
your vision is not focused.)
Why relax? Skip Downing says it best in his On Course to Your Success text:
|Freewrite or Journal||Give yourself ten minutes
to write. Set a timer so that you know when the time is up.
Copy the topic down at the top of the page (this is for guided
freewriting, not free freewriting). Then just start writing about the topic, whatever comes to your
mind, everything that comes to mind. Everything goes --
even words you wouldn't want your mom to hear. Don't worry
about spelling or punctuation or about the order you should put
stuff in. Don't go back and correct or stop to think of the
right word. (There is no right word; everything is good.)
Just write and write and write. Then, when you can't think of
anything else to say, write some more! If your mind is truly
blank, then write the last thing you wrote over and over and over .
. .. After a bit, your mind gets bored with that and gives you
more ideas. And usually those last ideas are the best!
If you want to know more about this technique, google freewriting
and Peter Elbow, who coined the term "freewrite" or read my
suggestions on freewriting.
|Compose||When you are ready, which
could be right after the freewriting or several days later, go to
the discussion board, choose the topic you are commenting on and
click reply. (In these discussion threads, you won't be able
to post, or create your own threads.) Using your freewriting and my questions, write
|Check||Because everyone in the
class can read your response, you do need to avoid words you
wouldn't want your mom to hear from you. It would be nice if
your words were spelled correctly, for the most part. Since
you're already online, you can use dictionary.com to check their
spelling, but don't agonize over the spelling, and for Pete's sake,
don't avoid using a word because you don't know how to spell it.
Chances are that word will show up spelled correctly in others'
responses, and you can learn from it. The grammar isn't
graded in the discussion board, but your writing needs to be clear enough that other people
can understand it (that's what grammar is all about). And it's
just good manners not to make your readers work hard to figure out
|My Expectations||I expect postings that
show you have put some time and thought into the topic. Some
of the postings will be related to a reading. Those should
demonstrate that you actually READ the assignment.
Also, you will
need to respond thoughtfully to each other. You may disagree
with another student. If so, explain what part you disagree
with and why. You may agree. If so, provide your own
examples or illustrations to support the idea. If you don't
like how someone said something, point it out. Maybe suggest
another way to say it. Take some time with your responses to
other students' postings, as well.
|5. Postings that
have nothing to do with the topic being replied to. "Did
anyone get the page number for the last reading?" Use the
class email or the Student Lounge for that kind of stuff. If you've got questions
and I don't answer soon enough for you, you can email the whole
class with just a few key strokes. Or you might be able to
find someone online at the same time and get your question answered.
4. Thin postings that say only one thing and don't elaborate: "I agree."
3. Padded postings that go nowhere. Something like this: "I think everyone is different. Some of us are like others but mostly we are different. That's because we are different people and we do things differently. Different people are different from each other."
2. Postings in text message style. Even a "u" will set me on edge. And I will remember u.
1. Saying "I don't have anything
to say about this" just to fulfill the requirement of responding to
a certain number of
topics. If you don't have anything to say, don't respond to the
topic. (That's the reason you
can leave one topic out.)
|This page last updated Thursday, May 17, 2012, by Connie Gulick.|