12th Grade Discussion Board

Were you excited by today's class discussion? Do you have burning questions that absolutely must get answered? Did you stumble across a news article, blog post, Youtube video, or some other piece of social media that is relevant to our current topic, and which you think someone else might want to read or watch? Click on the button for your period and post to continue the conversation!

7 Ground Rules for Online Discussion

Rule #1: Keep the Conversation Going.  

The goal of a discussion board is to keep the conversation going. Try to respond to anyone who replies to your initial posting. Moreover, when you respond to posts by others, make sure that everybody gets a response. If, for instance, you see that there are posts to which no one has responded yet, respond to one of them first, knowing that you can always respond to others as well if those topics engage you. But let’s include everybody in the “conversation.” Make sure everybody gets feedback.


Rule #2: Add, Don’t Repeat.  

Read what others have said before you post. This will help you avoid repeating something someone else has already contributed. Acknowledge the points made with which you agree and suggest alternatives for those with which you don’t. Always look for ways to add a new dimension, or a different slant, or another perspective.


Rule #3: Write As You Would Talk. 

Discussion boards are not usually the place for formal writing.  Don’t overly concern yourself with editing, or with trying to “sound smart.” Your purpose is to be interesting, stimulating, informative, and clear—not perfect. Be informal and fresh. Write as you would talk.


Note: this does not mean that you should write as you would text. Correct spelling, grammatical construction and sentence structure are still expected. Please refrain from emoticons and c u l8r’s.


Rule #4: Follow Proper Netiquette. 

All expectations regarding classroom etiquette apply online. Still, talking online is different from talking in class, so a few additional rules of “netiquette” need to be spelled out:

  • Be nice. Refrain from inappropriate language and derogatory or personal attacks.

  • Disagree with ideas, but do not demean, harass, or embarrass others.

  • Assume the best of others and expect the best from them.

  • Before you submit a post, read it aloud and ask yourself, “Does this sound like something I’d say to a classmate face-to-face”? Remember that you are talking to a real human being, not a computer screen.


Rule #5: Count Your Words.  

You want to be clear—and to articulate your point—without being preachy or pompous. Be direct. Stay on point. Don’t lose yourself, or your readers, in overly wordy sentences or paragraphs. Posts should function like a solid paragraph, developing an idea in the 150-250 word range.


Rule #6: Cite Your Sources. 

If your contribution to the conversation includes the intellectual property (authored material) of others, e.g., books, newspaper, magazine, or journal articles—online or in print—they must be given proper attribution.


Rule #7: Always Remember to “Measure Twice, Cut Once.”
Just like the carpenter who double checks her measurements before cutting a piece of wood, it’s always a good idea to read your post aloud before hitting the send button. This will tell you a lot about whether your contribution is clear and your tone appropriate. Once you hit send, you can’t take it back.