The Pioneer Post

The Pioneer Post is a resource for online students that provides tips and information about distance education.


Monday, June 1, 2009

by Les Hollingsworth, Corporate Marketing Director

Engaging in a discussion in an online classroom can create some anxiety, especially for students new to online learning. With many posts to do and never enough time, how do you ensure that your responses are worthy of full points? As an online learner myself, I remember spending tons of time trying to find the right balance of personal perspective and theory from the readings. Too much personal perspective and it looks like you didn't do the readings. Too much theory from the text and your response won't generate discussion. Here are a couple of quick tips to find that balance.

Follow a Consistent Format

Start by stating your point. This tells people where you’re going and piques interest. It also helps classmates to quickly determine if they want to respond to your post or not. If they can quickly identify what you’re proposing, the chances are higher that they will continue the thread.

After you’ve stated your point, relate a personal anecdote to clarify and demonstrate its connection to the real world. Wrap it up by incorporating a quote or idea from the text.

Tools and Tactics

One of my best friends during my online studies was MS OneNote. I used it to take notes from my readings for several reasons:

1) I can type much faster than I write.

2) If your course uses an e-book, you can simply copy the note of interest into OneNote. From there you can search your notes quickly and copy the quote/note into your discussion response easily (with citation of course).

3) You get formatting benefits. Re-organizing, highlighting, mark-up, and deleting are easier if you're not scrawling notes on paper.



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