As a student, your instructor will ask you to contribute to a discussion, and here are tips on how to write a good discussion.
Read the discussion prompt carefully, paying closer attention to a purpose will help you identify what you are expected to respond to. Particulars include word limit for the discussion, due date, and the expected sources for the discussion.
Response Type: this is very important to consider because you might be asked to reflect on personal experience, determine a solution to a problem, compare two ideas, or make an argument.
Formatting: what formatting has your instructor requested? If no specific formatting is indicated, follow general APA guidelines
After making the above consideration follow the general writing rules such as preparing adequately, going through previous feedback from your instructor, determining your strongest ideas, and constructing a draft.
The discussion often serves as key modes of class participation in an online learning environment. This makes discussions a great way to demonstrate what one has read and thought critically about in the course readings. A discussion is shorter and narrower in focus than a traditional essay. The discussion post should be as coherent and scholarly in tone. Try thinking of a discussion post as mini-essay, in which you have a single central argument and clear evidence to support that argument. It is important to keep length requirements in mind, limiting your response's scope, so it will remain clear, focused, and relevant to the topic at hand.
Example of a fruitful discussion thread: Question: Discuss your thoughts on the current national preoccupation with reality TV shows. In what ways are they used to represent or reinforce gender, racial, or economic stereotypes?
Response from student 1:
Reality shows are certainly an ever-expanding phenomenon, yet—in my opinion—they often convey many harmful stereotypes that undermine whatever entertainment value they possess. The genre exploded in the new millennium with shows like Survivor and Big Brother, which chronicled the relationships and personalities of "real" people within a competitive context. In recent years, however, reality shows have increasingly focused on the day-to-day lives of "authentic" individuals. There is one show that I think particularly epitomizes the current dilemmas inherent in this latter type of reality programming: Jersey Shore…
Responding to a Discussion/essay
A response is typical, and often, an instructor will request a student to write a reply. The response should be a subjective opinion about what one has read and, in this regard, should include opinion and personal experiences with supporting evidence. Writing a reply will require one to agree or disagree with the specific points. When in disagreement, keep responses respectful and academic in tone. Facts should be used to support points.
Here are common ways to respond.
Agree or disagree with the writer's thesis (main point). This is always done on initially when starting the response. For example, Ashley thesis that watching pornography has led to an increase in pregnancy in school-going girls is correct.
Agree or disagree with the degree to which the thesis is made. For example, you can say that Ashley is correct in asserting some of the problems associated with watching pornography. She oversimplifies porn effects and fails to address other potential causes.
Agree or disagree with specific points that are made that relate to the thesis for example, while Ashley overall thesis is justified, he takes his argument too far.
Agree or disagree with specific evidence that is offered in support of the thesis, for example, the evidence provided by Ashley lacks credibility
Agree or disagree with the relevancy of the overall topic. For example, Ashley's claim is correct, and the issue should be expanded and addressed further…
When responding to a discussion, you can use the following slogans
You took an interesting approach in your essay/discussion/ report…
I agree with you…
You make an interesting point…
I really appreciated your insight…
I'm not certain that your proposed thesis is really clear…