Discussion Board Guidelines

You are free to adapt this list of guidelines for use in your own course.

Think before you post. Any time we are communicating in print, there is a greater risk of misunderstandings occurring because we do not communicate our ‘tone’ when we write. Read your message thoroughly before you post it. Include friendly comments or emoticons to make sure your message is taken as you intend it.

Use lower and upper case appropriately. DO NOT USE ALL CAPS! It appears as if you are shouting at your classmates.

Keep the focus on the topic at hand. Remember, this is an academic discussion board. While we want to get to know each other as appropriate, not all of your classmates want to read sidebars to the class discussion.

Focus your comments on the message, not the messenger. Debating ideas is encouraged, but make sure you do not attack another for his or her ideas.

Avoid posting “me too” or “I agree” posts. If you have nothing more to add to the content, don’t post a reply. These posts take your classmates extra time to weed through without adding substance to the discussion. If you agree with a post, take the time to articulate why you agree, and then your reply will be worthy of posting.

Keep your replies brief. Replies should be no longer than three paragraphs.

Avoid the use of foul language or insults. Remember that there are real people out there who may be offended by something that you find humorous. Be overly cautious about posting anything that is even slightly off-color.

Do not create a new thread unless you are indeed introducing a new idea. If a discussion is in progress, reply to the last message on that topic instead of creating a new topic or thread. Make sure you do read through the messages on that thread before replying because someone may have already posted a response that is similar to yours. Make sure you add something new to the discussion instead of being redundant.

Keep discussion threads pure. Just as you don’t want to create a new thread for a topic already in progress, don’t muddy a given thread by adding something else to it. It will make it more difficult to follow the discussion. For example, if we are discussing the History of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and you reply to a post on that topic, but you also have a question about Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, don’t post your question at the bottom of your reply to the ADA topic. Create a new topic called Section 508 .

Check the discussion board frequently. You will enjoy and get more out of the discussions of your read posts regularly instead of waiting until the end of the week and reading 100 posts all in one sitting.

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