A Definition of "to discuss"
When you are asked to discuss something in the class forum, what exactly does "discuss" mean?
For our purposes here, discussing a topic will mean having a back and forth, give and take, conversation among class members about the topic or reading in question. It will mean having a dialog, or "multilog," involving any interested parties in the class.
So when you post a message in a class discussion, your message might do one or more of the following.
- Simply summarize some of what you see the author or lecture saying
- Pick out a salient point or two that caught your attention, summarize it, and say what you think about it
- Pick out something you have a question about, quote it, and ask others in class what they think it means
- Respond to a question or comment that others have posted
- Attempt to re-phrase some point the author has made in order to make it more clear; then see if others in class agree that you've caught the sense of the passage
- (It is probably wise to be careful about making negative judgments about a reading too hastily; it would be important to understand the author well before being too critical; but after you understand it, critiques are perfectly acceptable, as long as they leave plenty of room for others in the class to disagree with you.)
- It is probably a good idea, in general (though not always), to include only one major idea, theme, or question in a message. So you may want to post more than one message for more than one idea.
- Click here to see some guidelines by which to evaluate your own contributions to our online discussions
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