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Discussion Boards: An Opportunity to Hone Your Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is one of the most important competencies to hone if you want to be successful.  Sharing thoughtful, clear perspectives will set you apart from those who shy away from debates or who lack the insight or interest to contribute to discussions on a deeper level.  

Discussion boards are an integral part of your online education and they present a wonderful opportunity to sharpen this skill.

Here are some suggestions for discussion posts that stand out.

    • Engage in discussion boards as you would a face-to-face conversation.  In other words, keep the conversation moving forward. 
    • Don’t shy away from respectfully challenging an idea. If you have the evidence to support your perspective, share it!
    • Provide additional information (in the form of online articles, for example) to fuel the dialogue. 
    • Cite source material.
    • Spread your posts throughout the week.  Check the syllabus for guidelines for your posts.  Initial posts and responses are due on different days to facilitate thoughtful and sustained interactions. 
    • Compose your posts in a word processor like Google Docs so you can proofread them before submitting.  Consider using one of the free programs that check grammar, spelling, and punctuation, especially if you write on your phone. 
    • Keep in mind that each class has its own “personality.”  Until it is established that an informal voice is acceptable, assume a professional tone. 

I hope you’re having a wonderful term and that your discussions are enlightening and inspiring!

“Synergy: The combined effect of individuals in collaboration that exceeds the sum of their individual effects.” – Stephen R. Covey

Mycenea Worley Student Success Coach

Contact Information

Mycenea Worley
Montclair State University
Student Success Coach


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