8 Online Discussion Response Techniques

Online discussion is the heart of a community of practice oriented e-learning course. However, it can be difficult to know how to respond.

It’s a good idea to think in terms of value added responses. What can you add to advance the discussion?

I like to post the following list at the top of discussion forums in my online courses. It’s a good reminder and a handy reference!

Here are some suggestions to guide you as you respond to each other in discussion forums.

Suggested Techniques for Response :

  1. Expand on the topic.
  2. Provide a teaching story that illustrates the main idea.
  3. Offer a different perspective.
  4. Provide an online resource relevant to the topic (include a hyperlink).
  5. Offer a method you use in your classroom.
  6. Provide a summary of the ideas posted so far (good when you come late to the conversation).
  7. Ask a specific question (but avoid prompting yes or no answers).
  8. Ask an open ended (on topic) question.

The netiquette of online discussion:

  1. Focus on the prompt. Be sure to follow the directions in the prompt closely.
  2. Respond to those who respond to you! This is essential!
  3. Don’t depend on “Me too” or “I agree” posts. Make your posts substantial
  4. Work to respond with something that adds value to the discussion.
  5. Post early in the week. You’ll get more response and become more engaged in conversation.
  6. Avoid doing all of your posting at the end of the week. You miss out on interaction.
  7. Use direct quotations from the text. Include the Name of the text and page number. (Remember not everyone has the same text.)

I hope this helps!

~ Dennis San Diego

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