This document provides general instructions on how to initiate and respond to discussion posts in the New to Online Learning Group.

1. Make your understanding and learning VISIBLE! Discussion posts should introduce relevant information that teaches something new.

Here are the major things to think about when you compose your discussion posts and comments:

  1. Is your post/comment accurate?
  2. Is the post/comment relevant to the issue under discussion?
  3. Have you taught us anything new with your post/comment?
  4. Is your information supported, i.e., properly cited and/or documented? 

*Did you bring in to your post thoughts and analyses of course readings, presentations, web resources, observations, activities, and comments posted by others elsewhere or earlier in the course. You must read, reflect, explain, defend, refute, question, support, summarize, synthesize, and analyze course content in your post.

  • If you copy/paste, or closely paraphrase information from websites, or other sources, you must use quotes and provide the citation.
  • It is OK to respond with non-informative posts, or posts based on personal opinion, or experiences. In fact, sometimes it is good practice to thank someone for their help, or simply let them know you agree. Socially supportive comments such as these can add valuable "social presence”, and help to create a sense of community.

2. Create a meaningful subject for EVERY document that you post in this course! The title for your post must be a complete thought that conveys the main teaching point of your message.

You should create a Title for your posts that conveys the main point of your message. It is not enough to use just a "keyword" or "key phrase" as your subject/title - you must create a short sentence that summarizes the main point you are making in your message.

This requirement is intended to accomplish 2 goals:

  1. It requires you to think about and clearly state the main point of your message. To do this, you must have a clear understanding of the material. (This aids in learning and memory.)
  2. It provides the reader with advance information, which is helpful in organizing and learning the content of the message. The reader should be able to determine the essence of your comment just by reading your title.

Note: When responding to or commenting on a post in discussion or blog, you should not use "Re" (alone, or along with repeating the subject of the post you are responding to). For example: Re and Re: Teaching Presence is not the same as Teacher Presence are NOT good practice!

Here are a few more examples of unacceptable titles. (It is never necessary to use "response to", "Re", or the name of the person you are responding to in the title.)

  • response
  • response to professor
  • re
  • Thank You
  • RESP
  • I agree (or I disagree) - and all of their variations
  • Great Point
  • Your Comments
  • R2 Stacey
  • I don't know
  • UR Right...

Responding to the main item

To compose your response to a main discussion item, enter your message in the text box and click “Add Reply”.  If you do not see the text box, click on the "Reply to This" link located at the bottom of the page to open it. Add a title at the top of your response and then add the rest of your post in the boxed area. Give your post a meaningful title. A good title should be a complete sentence and convey the main point of your post. It should be an abstract of your post and function as an advanced organizer. "Response to Discussion 1" is not a useful title, neither is simply accepting the default, "re: I'll go first..." particularly if everyone in the course uses the same title.

Reply to nearly everyone that responds to any of your posts.  This encourages dialog between the participants. 

Responding to someone else's reply

If you are already reading someone else's response, you can "reply" directly to their post by clicking “Add Reply”.  Use "reply" if your comments relate directly to the response you were reading. Make sure you make the correct choice, so that your contribution will nest correctly in the discussion thread, in response to your intended post. Remember to give your reply a meaningful title.

Submitting your response

When you have completed your response, you can click the "Add Reply" button on the page to post your response.

Correcting your response

If you discover an error in your document after submission, such as a misspelled word or an incomplete thought, you can "Edit" your document. The "Edit" button appears at the bottom of the document after saving or submitting the document for the first time. You will have a 15-minute from when you enter your post to make any edits. When you have finished your edits, click the "Save" button. 

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new member guide

Created by Alexandra M. Pickett Aug 19, 2010 at 11:52am. Last updated by Alexandra M. Pickett Jun 23, 2015.


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