Being a productive member of an online learning community requires you to communicate clearly and concisely when you write. A few simple guidelines can help you produce clear, effective written contributions to your course. As always, review guidelines for assignments:
• Keep your sentences short
• Keep your paragraphs short
• Watch for careless errors; check your spelling and grammar
• READ your posting before you submit it
Correct any awkward or unclear areas before you post the final version in quotation marks and identify the author, so that you do not accidentally plagiarize someone.
In many courses, you will be required to join in class discussions and respond to classmates’ comments. These discussions may become complex, intense, and even provocative. Here are some tips to help you with discussions:
• Know what the instructor expects of your discussion responses
• Think before you write
• Reread your response prior to sending
Before you send off a hastily written, emotionally based reaction to another’s contribution, develop your ideas into a less emotional and more reasonable response. Then wait a few minutes and reread what you have written before you submit your response. Learning how to turn a reaction into a response will make your course contributions more meaningful – and may earn you a higher mark for participation, if participation counts toward your grade. Pausing and rereading gives you the opportunity to review your writing for organization, clarity, and correctness.