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Writing Effective Discussion Questions: UBIS Tips

07 Jul Nicole 0 Blog

Writing an effective discussion question is so important.  Whether you are a UBIS student, or you just find yourself taking any online course, chances are high that you will come across a discussion question.  They are a staple in this mode of study.  Discussion questions allow you to exchange opinions with your classmates and show your instructors that you have a good understanding of the content.  Learning how to write an effective discussion question is key to today’s student.  Additionally, they are used to create personal meaning about the information explored in class and to create a learning community through dialogue.

Discussion questions generally demand certain requirements, such as a minimum of words and a deadline to make your first post and the answers to your colleagues.  All this information is at your fingertips in the class syllabus, and the grading method will depend on your instructor.  At UBIS, we use “Moodle”, to learn more about this platform and the discussion questions you can click on this link:

Discussion questions in Moodle.

tips for effective discussion questions

Tips for effective discussion question writing

 

Following the Netiquette rules:

The goal of a discussion question is the open exchange of knowledge among class participants, but it is also a channel for expressing individual opinions on important topics. Not everyone will always agree with the opinions expressed, so it is important to comply with the “netiquette” rules.  UBIS is a global university, so you will run into students from all over the world, with different backgrounds and communication styles, for this reason courtesy is important, and you must be open to listening to the different points of view of others and being considerate of people’s feelings, cultures, and values.

Polish your effective discussion question writing skills:

Yes, a discussion question seeks to stimulate dialogue between participants, but we must not forget that it is still an educational assignment.   It is important to have good use of grammar rules and formal writing at all times. Your posts should never contain typos, misspellings, poor grammar, or sloppy formatting.

Despite many different wordings, the questions are specifically phrased to let you know exactly how to answer them. By breaking the questions down into parts, creating a strong response can be much easier than it seems.  A good idea is to proofread your text before submitting it.  This way you are sure to correct possible grammatical errors and structure a good response.  Proofreading is important as it can add power to our writing; without it, our work has a higher chance of containing errors.

Tips for effective proofreading.

Be clear and Objective:

When we speak in person, it is easier to express ourselves and explain exactly what we want to say during a conversation. However, in a fully virtual environment, more care is needed to avoid confusion and doubts.

So, when participating in a discussion forum, be clear and objective.

Learning is best when we express ourselves in understandable, audience-appropriate, and polite language. Mainly when answering questions, remember that your role is to transmit knowledge and demonstrate your critical thinking skills. When you can clearly envision the purpose of the discussion, it is easier to formulate stimulating answers for facilitating the communication. Conveying your objectives to your classmates, moreover, helps to focus your thinking and motivate participation.  All of this is important in writing an effective discussion question.

Do not be afraid to share your opinion:

Just as you give respect, you should expect the same from your peers.  One of the main goals of discussion forums is to encourage critical thinking from participants and allow them to air their opinions in a friendly way.  Asking questions is a good idea to keep the dialogue open and challenging your classmates will demonstrate knowledge of the topic and a willingness to debate. Do not be afraid to disagree with the opinion of others and defend your positions in a courteous manner.

Providing meaningful feedback to your classmates is important. Put some thought into the responses that you give to you peers, provide reasons and details that explain why you agree or disagree with someone, and remember that asking a follow-up questions can keep the conversation going.

People sometimes underestimate the value of discussion posts, but they can serve as a valuable tool for gaining broader understanding of others’ viewpoints or exploring topics from a different angle.  Learning how to write an effective discussion question will help in other areas.  It is a great opportunity for you to polish your persuasive writing skills while learning how to communicate effectively (and diplomatically) with people who may have opinions or views that differ from your own.

Here are some other strategies to improve your effective discussion question skills.

Put thought into your posts before you post them. Your posts should demonstrate that you have thought deeply about the topic and planned your response carefully.

Share something of yourself in each post, whether it is your opinion, a past experience from your life, or something new you have just learned. This backs up your position with examples, details, or anecdotes from your personal experience.

Include a question in your posts when possible. Questions help to keep the discussion going, invite others to interact with your post, and could help you find answers or explanations that you may need to better understand the content.

Track due dates. Discussion posts typically have a firm due date. Just like a classroom discussion, your discussion can only happen in the moment.

Provide meaningful feedback to your classmates. Put some thought into the responses that you give to your classmates. Provide reasons and details that explain why you agree or disagree with someone. Asking follow-up questions can keep the conversation going.  Telling someone they wrote a good response is not enough.

Quote portions of the text and cite them, if appropriate. Sometimes a prompt will reference a specific text, and you should use portions of the text as evidence.