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Student Guidelines for Online Discussions

Online discussions can help you reflect on reading, connect with classmates, and learn from others. Here are some guidelines to follow during online discussions. Together we can build a safe and fun community for online learning

1. Participate!

Even though you aren’t with your teachers and classmates in a in a school, chatting with them in online discussions will help you stay connected. 

2. All comments should be school appropriate.

 If you wouldn’t say it in the classroom, don’t say it online. 

3. Respect the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of your classmates.

Remember there’s a real person behind the screen. 

4. Try to use proper spelling and grammar.

Before you post a comment, double-check it for correct capitalization and punctuation. 

5. Keep your comments on topic.

Here are some conversation tips: 

Ask strong questions. During a discussion, avoid asking yes or no questions or questions that require a one-word answer. Encourage others to respond to your comments by including questions. Here are some examples: 

  • Why do you agree (or disagree) on that point?
  • How would the article be different if. . . ?
  • What do you mean by. . . ?
  • Why do you think the author mentions. . . ? 

Give meaningful feedback. Your comments should go beyond simply agreeing or disagreeing with what another classmate says. Try to continue the conversation by adding a new idea or offering an opinion, question, or connection to consider. Some good sentence starters are:

  • I was surprised that . . . 
  • One lesson I learned is that . . . 
  • I could relate to . . .

Refer to the text. When discussing an article, don’t forget to support your comments with text evidence.