Examination of Discussion Posts
The goal of a discussion post is to simulate a real-world discussion in the classroom. It is the chance to gain further insight into the concepts being studied, instead of being a replacement for a writing assignment. The examination of the articles highlights that whereas formal writing is more relaxed in the discussion post, application of the concepts learned and critical thinking is not casual. Full participation as well as the comments from the instructor and other students enable the classroom content to come to life in a discussion post.
In Individuals, Differences, and Learning, Jonassen and Grabowski (2012) highlights that a person should use critical writing to develop substantive forum posts. A substantive post regarding the topic being discussed should give a reason for the person’s beliefs. An opinion is acceptable, as long as it can be reinforced with a solid rationale (Jonassen & Grabowski, 2012). A student will need to write persuasively and critically. In a class discussion, a student will apply the concept of what she has learned, associate that information to facts and develop a conclusion that she has reached. A person’s post may also come up with a solution to a problem. The lecturer will consider the student’s critical writing skills in assessing responses in class forums (Jonassen & Grabowski, 2012). For instance, a student’s answer in a discussion should explain a theory or position. The answer should be reinforced by facts from peer-reviewed journals, reputable professional sites, and professional sources.
The policy article “Developmental Education Challenges and Strategies for Reform” highlights that full participation in a discussion post entails examining, application, and advocating for an idea or concept. In the forum post, the student should create ger answer to the discussion prompt by examining the idea/concept being discussed, applying it to facts and advocating for a recommendation or position (King et al, 2007). Such a practice not only demonstrate to the instructor that one is using a higher level of thinking, but it also demonstrates that a student if applying her problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Boylan (2002) is concise in explaining how a student should make a recommendation in the book What Works. By advocating for a recommendation, one is free to use certain facts to develop a conclusion. A student’s opinion is accepted and encouraged in a forum; however, one must substantiate that opinion with supporting data (Boylan, 2002). One should ensure that she double-checks her grammar and spelling in the answer. A post that only “agrees” or “disagrees” does not contribute to learning in the classroom. A student should provide explanations and example to reinforce her position. Similarly, complementing a classmate on a good primary post is the same as an “I agree” post (Boylan, 2002). Whereas one is free to post a compliment to a classmate, she should be ready to explain how she feels the classmate’s post uses the concept under discussion. The key thing to remember is that a form is not a blog; instead it is an academic exercise.
Overall, responding to the posts of fellow students entails comparing and contrasting statements from other students. One should examine the similarities and differences and how they contribute to the discussion. One should take a position, advocate for her viewpoint respectfully. By referring to a third-party resource, like a journal or textbook, she reinforces her position and gives credibility to the position that she advocated for. Additionally, credible reinforcing resources make it harder for the instructor or other students to disagree with one’s viewpoint. By referring to credible sources, one sends a strong message to the instructor that she read the material.
Boylan, H. R. (2002). What works: Research-based best practices in developmental education. Continuous Quality Improvement Network with the National Center for Developmental Education.
Jonassen, D. H., & Grabowski, B. L. (2012). Handbook of individual differences, learning, and instruction. Routledge.
King, J. B., McIntosh, A., Bell-Ellwanger, J., Schak, O., Metzger, I., Bass, J., … & English, J. (2017). Developmental Education: Challenges and Strategies for Reform. US Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. Date Retrieved December, 27, 2017.