Discussion posts and Shared Practice make up the bulk of your writing assignments this term. So, before you hit "submit," here are some useful tips for writing exemplary posts!
1. Read the discussion prompt carefully, paying special attention to:
- Purpose: What question or required reading(s) are you being asked to respond to?
- Particulars: What is the word limit? When is the due date and time? What sources are you expected to draw on?
- Response type: Are you being asked to reflect on personal experience, determine a solution to a problem, compare two ideas, or make an argument?
- Formatting: What formatting has your instructor requested? If no specific formatting is indicated, follow general APA guidelines.
- Expectations: How will your discussion post be assessed? Consult your course materials or instructor if you are unsure.
2. Prepare Adequately
- After reading both the prompt and required readings, spend some time jotting down your reactions, ideas, and responses.
- Determine one-two of your strongest ideas, which you will structure your response around, by assessing the amount of evidence you have to support a particular assertion, response, or claim.
3. Construct a draft
- Discussion post assignments often have multiple questions. Instead of answering each one in order, use a topic sentence to bring all points together in one central argument, claim, or purpose.
- Use your evidence to build your response and persuade your readers by supporting your claim with course readings or outside sources (if permitted/required)
- Make sure that each piece of evidence keeps your post focused, relevant, clear, and scholarly in tone.
4. Review and Revise by asking yourself important questions:
- Is my main idea clear and relevant to the topic of discussion?
- Does my response demonstrate evidence that I have read and thought critically about required readings/personal experience?
- Have I proposed a unique perspective that can be challenged by my classmates?
- Do I support my claim with required readers or other credible outside sources?
- Have I used a scholarly tone, avoiding jargon or language that is overly conversational?
- Have I proofread my response for grammar, style, and structure?