Suggestions for the Electronic Discussion

I should have made these points before our online discussion started, but I haven’t tried this in a while and so didn’t think about it. Apologies!

The purpose of an online discussion is not for you to show the teacher what you know, but for the class to figure out the answer to some question.  In our current discussion, the question is are Deli-Dollars in the Specter article an example of money?  In order to answer this question, at a minimum we need to define what money is, explain deli-dollars and then figure out if deli-dollars have enough of the characteristics of money to be considered an example of money.

An online discussion is not a short paper.  Some of the early posts on the online discussion basically summarized the entire Specter article and then posed an answer to the question.  Imagine a conversation you were having with a classmate.  Would you say what was said in one of those posts to your classmate in a face to face convo?  Almost certainly not!  Why not?   Think about it.

Don’t repeat what others have already said!  This requires that you read what everyone else has said.  Otherwise, how can you be sure you’re not repeating?  When you repeat what someone else has already said on the discussion, you get no credit for saying it again.  Instead, try to add something that you possibly understood better than the original post.

An online discussion is not a dialog between individual students and the instructor.  It is supposed to be a conversation among all participants to use our collective wisdom to figure out an answer to the question.  This is not a case, where I have “the” answer and you have to figure it out.  There is no unique correct answer to this question.  Instead, you have to build a case supported by evidence for what you believe.

The answer is not the point.  The thinking which leads up to the answer is the point.  If you skip the thinking, you miss the point.

So what should you do to participate well in an online discussion?

  • Read what everyone posts.
  • Respond to what your classmates are saying.
  • Answer questions posed by me or your classmates.
  • Call out things that you don’t understand and ask for clarification.
  • Help the group draw a conclusion.

P.S. Even though the online discussion goes over the contract period, all the points earned will count towards your first contract.

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