Yorkville University recently hosted a live webinar for Online Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students that explored the ins and out of effective response writing in discussion forums.
During the hour-long event, BBA Course Coordinator Dr. Carla Weaver, joined by BBA Program Director John Morrison and faculty member Audrey Lowrie, broke down all their tips and tricks on how to maximize the effectiveness of responses in online learning.
Here are the Top 5 takeaways from that session:
1) To earn a grade between 90 and 100 per cent:
- Posts must demonstrate an outstanding depth of understanding of the discussion question AND considerable sensitivity and well-considered critical reaction to peers in their peer responses
- Responses must also add significant value to the conversation, be well constructed and supported, and free of grammatical and spelling errors
- Students must post a minimum of one initial and three substantive peer responses in accordance with the posted schedule
2) Initial postings in response to a discussion question should:
- Directly, thoughtfully and substantively address each question, scenario or topic
- Demonstrate an understanding of topic
- Represent an original and considered thought
- Include soundly reasoned arguments
- Demonstrate careful reading, professional or personal experiences, and/or any external research conducted
- Include proper APA citations where necessary
- Be approximately 150 to 200 words in length
- Be free of spelling and grammar errors, and written in complete sentences
3) A substantive response to one of your peers’ posts is one that:
- Contributes intelligently to the conversation
- Is free of spelling errors, is grammatically correct, is written in complete sentences, and contains full words (no unnecessary abbreviations, acronyms, etc.)
- Provides constructive feedback and exhibits sensitivity to, respect for, and appreciation of your peers’ work and perspectives, even if you disagree with them
4) The ABCs of Responding:
- A is for Acknowledgement
You want to acknowledge what the person said, so you can agree with them, you can thank them for their post, you can say something encouraging, or praise them for their post and be positive.
- B is for Build
You want to build on their post by elaborating on what the person said, agreeing or respectfully disagreeing with them, and including a rationale for your stance on the issue. Elaborate and explain why by bringing in information from a new source ie textbook, article, or an example from your own experience.
- C is for Continue/Challenge
Make a final statement that continues the discussion – either a question that will challenge other students to continue the discussion and respond, or make an interesting statement.
5) Always keep academic integrity top of mind
- Do NOT cut and paste from the internet. It may be tempting, but it’s not appropriate. Post your own work and your own thoughtful responses.
- Always acknowledge your sources. If you get an idea from another source or you read an article to prepare for the discussion, make sure that you always include references and citations to those sources.
- Turnitin – an internet-based plagiarism detection service – is available in the discussions to check your posts as you post them. It matches what you write with sources on the internet and databases of student work. If it shows a high match, what you want to do is edit your post and put it in your own words.