|Discussion Board Etiquette|
University of Wisconsin-Stout — Schedule of Online Courses, Online Certificate Programs, and Graduate Degree
The Discussion Board is a vital part of communication in online learning. If all participants agree to follow a few principles of civility and professionalism, the discussion board can be a great opportunity to express opinions, share ideas, and receive feedback from peers who are engaged in the same learning objectives.
Discussion Board Topic Links
Your First Posting
Delete the Extra
When writing a reply posting, delete all extraneous information except the specific phrase, sentence, or comment to which you are replying. This not only helps the reader know what you are replying to, but also helps him or her save time by not wading through a long post, or worse, the entire included thread. It also makes it quicker for classmates to download or print a particular posting.
Summarize, Quote, or Refer
Another way to help readers engage in your responses is to give a frame of reference in your post by quoting or summarizing the content to which you are responding. For example, “When Nick wrote he always formatted his posts the same way I began to think . . .” is much easier for the reader to follow and understand than “Yep, me too, that’s why I . . .” To look at it a different way, some participants choose to arrange their discussion board by unread posts only—the quote gives them their frame of reference for the topic of the thread.
Me, Too, I Agree!
The me-too post certainly is a frustration in the online environment and does not add any depth to the discussion or learning. In a study by Stodel, Thompson, and MacDonald (2006), “Learners got frustrated with the constant agreements and comments such as ‘Good point’ and ‘I agree’; feeling it made the conversation overly positive and fake.” Therefore be sure to post substantive ideas and avoid the "I agree" posts which just clutter up a discussion board.
Change the Subject Line to Reflect the Content of your Post
Think of the subject line of your posting like the title of a good book, one which will draw other readers in. Subject lines that resemble addresses (e.g., Lisa to Kay) tend to close down discussions to just the two names listed. Subject lines that just repeat the original poster’s subject line with the Re: added (Re: Re: Re: Unoriginal subject line) give no indication to the reader if the new or added content will benefit him or her as a learner, whether the conversation has evolved in topic or perhaps if it is veering off into a personal side conversation (which should then be moved to the student lounge or email). Each time you post or reply to a post, update the subject line to match the content of your posting.
Tone and Courtesy in Writing
The "tone" is a very important part of electronic communication. When you read your message out loud, does it sound the way you would speak to another student in the classroom?
Check Previous Postings Before You Post
Remember to read what has previously been posted by others to avoid repeating comments.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
Cite your references.
Grammar, Spelling and Fonts
The Discussion Board is part of a college course, so your writing style should conform to the rules of standard English. Here are some guidelines for all messages posted to the course's Discussion Board and course-associated emails:
Adapted and used with permission of:
University of Wisconsin - Stout — Schedule of Online Courses, Online Certificate Programs, and Graduate Degree