A previous post covered the basics of writing excellent and thoughtful discussion board posts. If you are currently taking an online course, it is your responsibility to contribute during discussions. This post will teach you how to respond to your classmates’ posts. But why is responding to discussion posts important? Because responding determines the impression, you create.
Besides that, it is an opportunity to showcase your thoughts, writing skills, and ideas on topics covered in class. By reflecting on the course material, you prove your knowledge of the subject matter, benefit from others’ perspectives, develop critical thinking and evaluation skills.
Caveat! Remember, your responses also decide the grades you earn. For this reason, you need to have the skills and knowledge to make effective discussion board responses. Although some students think responding to posts is simple. But you might find it challenging to write incisive replies. So, you might ask how do I respond to an online discussion? Use the tips below to compose effective discussion board response.
How to Discussion Board Responses
Effective discussion board responses depend on three critical elements, namely:
- Understanding how to respond to prompts
- Designing a comprehensive response strategy
- Editing replies before posting
Note that online discussions involve more than the above activities. But effectively tapping these tips will enhance one’s ability to engage with fellow students and faculty members.
Open Up the Discussion.
Make brief discussion board response to each of your classmates’ posts. Doing so adds to your knowledge while increasing your grasp of different subject matter and perspectives. Also, replies are an opportunity to ask questions or obtain advice from peers for assessing one’s performance in a discussion. In your reply, include exciting facts from others and follow them up with your conclusions. Remember, brainstorming in a group can improve your ability to tackle upcoming assignments, presentations, or papers. If necessary, tap the power of collaborative brainstorming tools, and hyperlink replies directly to a post.
When replying, use real-life scenarios, experiences, or observations to integrate course content. Connect your discussion board response to events of global or local significance. Indicating how events tie in with the topic shows your ability to link discussions to specific events or situations. Finally, suggest practical ways of applying what you are learning.
Often, most online learning platforms support the sharing of learning resources between students and lecturers. So, share relevant web resources using your portal’s upload or hyperlinking tools.
Introduce additional content to improve the quality of your replies. Include citations from official authorities to support, defend, or promote your ideas when necessary. Attach copies of your references in PDF format so others can evaluate them. Sharing resources is proof of your engagement with the subject matter beyond the confines of classroom interactions.
Just because you are behind a keyboard does not mean you should use text. Create and upload video or audio files of your reply if your forum supports it. Consider also posting images in a discussion thread to augment your ideas or thoughts. A famous adage asserts that pictures are worth a thousand words! But make sure you credit an image’s creator or source. Alternatively, you can use picture drawing tools to create an original image and upload it to the current discussion thread. Don’t forget to ask your peers for feedback on your input.
Clarify the Context
Include informative titles and quotations from a peer’s initial post. If a post is lengthy, focus on content relevant to your current post. Also, place your comments between paragraphs on posts that have multiple paragraphs. Doing so provides readers with the contextual background of a discussion board response.
Strive to Improve Group Cohesion
Virtual discussion boards are about learning. For this reason, improving group cohesion is critical to your academic and professional development. So, provide positive feedback, use light humor, and avoid disparaging comments. Most importantly, always refer to peers by their first names, respond to posts promptly, and offer help. As online discussion forums lack vocal and nonverbal cues, use descriptive phrases to label emotions accordingly. Otherwise, others won’t understand how you feel.
Avoid Inciting Strong Emotional Responses.
If a message or post makes you emotional, wait before replying. Why? Because you might say something regrettable. Besides, what you say may cause irreparable damage. Sometimes waiting overnight is the wisest thing to do. Afterward, you can respond calmly and with dignity.
Pro Tip: typical discussion assignments require that you contribute first. Then, read replies from your peers and write at least two discussion board responses to posts from the community.
Now that we have covered what it takes to write a good response, some might ask: what is an example of a good discussion reply? Here’s an example that integrates the suggestions above.
Example of a Good Discussion Post Response
I agree with your post that the author has a unique way of describing the delicious joy of eating peaches. Personally, peaches are my favorite fruit in the summer, and I appreciate the poem tremendously. I also concur with your observation that the phrase “sweet and succulent” connects vividly with a reader’s experiences. In my mind, succulent is a potent term. It conjures the thought of uncontrollable and sticky peaches dripping with delicious juices.
Your comment about how peaches collect dust as they mature is interesting as well. The use of “dust” repeatedly floods one mind with memories of driving down bumpy and dusty country roads searching for this treat. Often, these roads are hot and dusty, making one yearn for a peach’s delicious juices.
Interestingly, your response to Question Two reminds one of a peach tree’s cool shade during hot summer days. However, I am not sure of the clarity of your proposed thesis. Typically, a thesis content should revolve around the central idea the poem presents, helping readers interpret it correctly. Primarily, a thesis affects how one interprets a response.
Review this example as a guide on how to compose your responses. Good luck!
Essential Tips for Success
Take note of the tips presented below. Incorporate them into your daily routines to succeed in class.
Tip #1: Allocate private and uninterrupted time to prepare assignments. Preferably, in two-hour blocks three times per week.
Tip # 2: Check your emails regularly. This way, you remain updated with information.
Tip # 3: Use tools provided in the online discussion portal to send or post private and public messages to your peers and instructors.
Tip # 4: If unsure of an assignment, ask questions promptly. Plus, online portals typically maintain a FAQ section. So, use it to look for solutions to your problems.
Tip # 5: Read discussion prompts and responses carefully.
Attributes and Key Skills
Cultivating the following three attributes will enhance your effectiveness in writing and responding to discussion posts.
- A positive attitude towards technology
- An open mind for technology-assisted learning
- A willingness to share
Other vital skills for success in your online discussion board assignments include:
- Strong writing skills for expressing your ideas and thoughts with clarity
- Robust analysis and critical thinking skills: useful for when you get stumped
- Resourcefulness: never shying away from clicking links, exploring, and asking questions
- Time management skills: as a student, you are responsible for completing assignments on time. Create a schedule of when to accomplish specific tasks for your online class.
Like writing discussion posts, responding to your classmates’ posts requires a diverse skill set. But acquiring these skills requires effort on your part. This is why we prepared this guide to help you master incisive response writing. And as they say practice, practice makes perfect. Once again, good luck!