Tips for Participating in Online Discussion Boards

Tips for Participating in Online Discussion Boards

Online education is about much more than just reading a textbook and answering multiple choice questions on a website. Besides the flexibility and convenience, online classes offer students benefits such as the ability to connect with peers and have in-depth discussions that enhance their learning. These tips will help students maximize the benefits of online discussion boards.

Get Involved Early

Students who want to engage in meaningful conversations with peers should become comfortable with the online discussion board format as early in the semester as possible. A study published in The American Journal of Distance Education found that students have higher-quality exchanges in the second half of the semester, once the participants have become familiar with each other.
Furthermore, students will gain more from online classes by participating in each assignment as early as possible. Taking on each discussion topic from the beginning means that there is more time for follow-up, which leads to more in-depth dialogue.

Understand What Is Expected

Participants should thoroughly review all course materials to understand what the instructor expects from group interactions. The guidelines for the discussion boards should specify the appropriate length and tone of posts as well as whether the student is required to include relevant outside sources.

Use Clear, Cohesive Language

Online classes are not the place for slang or internet shorthand. Informal or conversational language is usually acceptable, but proper grammar is important to communicate ideas which can sometimes be quite complex. Misunderstandings are common in written communication, so participants should be mindful of how their words might sound.

Make Genuine Connections

Faulkner University students can benefit from online discussion boards by finding a community of peers with similar Christian values. These relationships can last long after the class has ended, creating a network that can consist of valuable professional contacts later in life. When participating in discussions, students should strive to engage in substantive conversations, responding thoughtfully with opinions backed up by facts and personal experiences.

Using these tips, Faulkner University online students can make the most of the discussion boards in their classes, and therefore receive all the benefits of their online education in a faith-based environment.