Participating in Online Discussions

One of the most important parts of being part of a learning community is the actual community. Both in a face-to-face and an online environment, students and faculty need to interact and communicate with one another. Here are some practical tips that you can use to be an active member of the learning community at AU, especially when participating in online discussions:

Say Something

No instructor wants their class to be a monologue. We value rich discussions both in and out of class. To be a good participant in a online discussion, first listen (or read) and then talk. There are often two extremes in discussion: the talkative student and the silent student. For the talkative student, remember that sometimes it's best to refrain from making a comment so that others can speak. And for the silent student, remember that we want to hear your comments and opinions. And don't be afraid to ask questions. Questions can provide clarity and can also move a discussion forward.

"I Agree" is Not a Complete Answer

If your instructor asks you to respond to someone else's post, don't just post "I agree" or something equally short and sweet. Tell us why you agree and give us your more information about your point of view. By expanding on your answer, you're proving to your instructor that you're actively participating in the class. Plus, you may move the discussion further and that benefits everyone.

Show Respect

Interacting and communicating for a class can make some people feel vulnerable. It's important that in class, as in life, we treat everyone with respect. Recognize when someone has taken a chance by thanking them for sharing. Don't dismiss things that people share, but take the time to consider it and ask clarifying questions. Most important, be a humble learner. No one knows everything and we are all learning. Give your peers some grace!

Speak Up, But Frame Your Opinion with Sensitivity. 

AU strives for students to be engaged in academic discovery and this often involves students exploring new concepts and ideas. Your opinion matters here. We want to hear your ideas and thoughts, so please do not be afraid to speak up.

Sometimes we forget that our opinions may not be shared by everyone. It is important that you frame your opinion as your own. Use "I think" instead of something like "everyone" or "most people." In an academic environment, we shouldn't be afraid to explore new ideas. Sharing your opinion is fine, but share your opinion with compassion for your peers, who might not feel the same way you do.

Be Professional with Online Communication

Academic communication through email and online discussions should be professional. We use a lot of shortcuts in our social communication, but try to stay on the side of professionalism when dealing with your instructors and peers. You can still be friendly, but remember the rules of netiquette. If you aren't familiar with netiquette, check out this synopsis from Colorado State University.


Article ID: 101098
Thu 3/12/20 11:37 PM
Fri 3/13/20 12:40 PM