41 8. Instructions for Discussions

You may want to print this document out.

Your next task will be to participate in an online discussion. This document provides instructions on how to initiate and respond to discussions. You can also return to the Tutorial for a “refresher.”

A “discussion thread” is started each time you submit a discussion item. Each response to the original question is indented once – a response to a response is indented a second time – etc. This system of indents helps us determine which responses go together. By using the “collapse” and “expand,” , and “next” or “previous” document menu options in the navigational bar of the course, or by using the “collapse” and “expand”  “twisties,” you can follow the give and take of a threaded discussion – the web equivalent of a classroom discussion.

Responding to the main item

To compose your response to a main discussion item you are reading, click on the “Respond” link located at the bottom of that page. In the form, title your response in the Subject field and then respond in the boxed area. A good title tells something of the nature of your personal response. “Response to Discussion 1” is not a very useful title, particularly if everyone in your course uses the same one.

Responding to someone else’s response

If you are already reading someone else’s response document, click on the “Respond” link located at the bottom of that page to respond to that response. Make sure that you respond on the document intended so that your contribution will line up in the threaded discussion in the right place.

Submitting your response

When you have completed your response, click the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page.

Correcting your response

If you discover an error in your document after you submit it, a misspelled word or an incomplete thought, you can “Edit” your document. The Edit button appears at the top of your document after you submit it the first time. When you have finished your edits, click the submit button at the bottom of the page.

Quality discussion responses

Responses such as: “I agree.”, “Good question” or “Good answer” / Any response that is just an opinion, or is unsubstantiated / any response that is carelessly typed, poorly thought-out, grammatically incorrect or confusing / any response that is disrespectful of another student or any other person, etc., are not acceptable.A high quality response contains information from the textbook or other valid source, or applies a concept from the text or course in a meaningful way, or facilitates understanding of the course material or topic. Please review information in the Course Information area of the course for guidelines and specific information on how you will be evaluated on your participation in “Course Discussions.”


As discussion is of a public nature, please observe proper “netiquette” — courteous and appropriate forms of communication and interaction over the Internet (in online discussions). This means no personal attacks, obscene language, or intolerant expression. All viewpoints should be respected.


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English Composition Copyright © by Lumen Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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