Example 6: Wondering what you should do for the participation portion of our class?

Participation may well be one of your greatest challenges in this course. Given your prior experiences in a teacher-centered classroom, some of you may fear initiating discussion, especially among yourselves; however, it is so important that you participate in the discussions substantively. Your peers have a lot to share with you and amazing stories to tell. 

What do I mean by a substantive post? 

The following are some ideas to set the stage for substantive participation for the development of your critical thinking skills:

  1. Ensure that the posting contributes to the overall discussion thread that is being developed. Your response must contain some reference back to the original discussion question.  Stay on track by always referring back to that original discussion question.
  2. Try to use your posting to add value to the discussion. This is more effective than simply responding to meet a requirement.
  3. Check to see that the posting expands on the main theme (in the discussion question, or assignment posting).
  4. Make sure your posting is at least 75-150 words.

Other Ideas for Participation

  • Share a related experience.
  • Comment on others' experiences.
  • Ask students questions about their ideas/experiences.
  • Consider an idea being discussed, and offer a different perspective on it.
  • Describe an interesting idea from the week's reading, and explain what insights you gained from it.
  • Ask the group a question about the week's reading.
  • Disagree (respectfully, of course) with a point that someone else has made.
  • Discuss a related issue on which you would like some feedback.
  • Describe how you have applied the recent course concepts to your personal/professional life. 
  • Share another resource you have used as you explored the course topics.