Discussion Board Etiquette

Discussion Board Etiquette

The discussion board for your course can be a vital asset to your distance learning. If all participants follow a few principles of online etiquette, the discussion board can be a great opportunity to share ideas, express opinions, and receive feedback from peers who are engaged in the same learning objectives as you. Here are a few guidelines:


1.   Participate

Discussion boards are a shared learning environment. Instead of just reading the discussion thread of others; if everyone contributes, all benefit.

2.   Be Brief

Reading comments on a discussion board can be time consuming. Make your point clearly and succinctly, but remember to be academic in your tone.

3.   Delete Extraneous Information

When replying to a post, delete all extraneous information except the specific phrase, sentence, or comment to which you are replying. This helps the reader know what you are replying to and helps him or her save time by not wading through a long post or the entire thread.

4.   Give a Frame of Reference

Quote or summarize the content to which you are responding. For example, “When Joe wrote he agreed with Jane’s conclusion, I began to think…”

5.   Post Substantive Comments

Avoid comments that lack substance such as ‘I agree’, ‘Good point’, and ‘Me too!’ These comments do not add any depth to the discussion or learning.

6.   Be Courteous

Tone is a very important part of electronic communication. When you read your message out loud, does it sound the way you would speak to someone in person?
  • Humor can be difficult to convey in text, so make sure everyone realizes when you are trying to be funny. It is easy for messages to be misinterpreted since there are no physical gestures or voice inflections that accompany the text.
  • Think through and re-read your comments before you post them.
  • Be nice. Refrain from inappropriate language and derogatory or personal attacks.
  • Make a personal commitment to learning about, understanding, and supporting your peers.
  • Assume the best of others and expect the best from them.
  • Disagree with ideas, but avoid challenges that may be interpreted as a personal attack.
  • Be open to be challenged or confronted on your ideas.
  • Challenge others with the intent of facilitating growth. Do not demean, harass or embarrass others.
  • Encourage others to develop and share their ideas.
  • Global University students come from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Use no language that is or could be construed to be offensive to other cultures.


7.   Check Previous Postings Before You Post

Read what has previously been posted by others to avoid repeating comments.
  • Make sure you are posting under the appropriate heading or thread.
  • Stick to the thread topic; if you wish to pursue an unrelated idea, start a new discussion thread.


8.   Give Credit Where Credit is Due

If your contribution to the conversation includes the intellectual property (authored material) of others, e.g., books, newspaper, journal articles or websites, cite your references.

9.   Use Proper Grammar, Spelling, and Fonts

The Discussion Board is part of a college course, so your writing style should conform to the rules of standard English. Social networking and text messaging has spawned a body of linguistic shortcuts that are not part of academic dialogue. Here are some guidelines:
  • Avoid slang (e.g., “Wassup?”, “Yo” and so forth.
  • Don’t curse.
  • Use standard spelling:
    • you (not u)
    • are (not r)
    • to or too (not 2)
    • you’re (not ure)
    • right (not rite)
    • I (not i)
  • Use the spell check! Mistakes in spelling and grammar reflect poorly on you, and they’re not acceptable.
  • Stick to standard fonts – Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, 12 or 14 pt. – and colors – black or blue.


10. Ask Appropriate Questions

The course discussion board is not the place for every question. If you have questions about your coursework or grade, Student Services can answer those kinds of questions. Save the discussion board for topics and questions relevant to the course material.

11. Be Realistic About When to Expect an Answer

The professor and other taking this course also work and have family obligations, which may prevent them from responding to posts right away. Be patient if you don’t get an answer to your post right away. If your question or comment goes unanswered longer than 3 days, ask politely if they’ve seen your post.