Getting ready for next semester: Writing a successful discussion board posting College Life

Hello everyone:

Discussion board postings can be worth up to 20% of your final grade or more, so how do you ace this part of the grade?  Let me tell you how!

First, read the instructions carefully. Then take a moment to check what the instructor may have posted as an announcement to clarify his or her instructions on the assignment. Take those comments seriously.

Second, read the questions you are being asked to answer so that you can look for these issues as you are reading (that’s step three). The instructor thinks these ideas are so valuable that she or he is putting them into a discussion board, so you may see these questions again (like on a test or quiz).

Next, do the assigned reading from the textbook. Do not assume that you know it all and don’t need to read about it. I have run into very few students who are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs); I would say the number of SMEs I see is less than 1%. You probably are not in that 1%.

Now, look at the questions again, and answer them. Use direct quotes from the textbook, citing them properly, and then ALSO incorporate what you personally think about the issues you are discussing. (Please note that I am NOT looking for a bunch of direct quotes and no analysis. Instead, show me that you understand what you wrote by telling me how you would apply the reading from our book into real life.)

Finally, go back through your answers and make sure that you don’t have any typos or incorrect grammar. You are in college, my friend; spelling and grammar really does count! Have you answered everything that was asked? Have you exceeded the minimum word or sentence count? (Note: If an assignment has a three sentence minimum and that’s all you write, I will assume that you do just enough to get by and I will make a note of it in my records. I label you “lazy” and it is very hard for that label to ever be changed.)

I hope that this blog has been helpful. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will be happy to reply.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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