Research Design in Technical and Professional Communication



Discussion board expectations

The goal is to have a lively conversation between class members and not simply dumping answers into the discussion list. An important part of learning is sharing ideas and working at fitting other people's views into yours.

The entire class must participate in the discussion. This is the same as participating in a regular class. However, being an on-line course, the only way I know you are working on the material is by what you contribute.

Your initial response to the questions should occur by the second day of the unit. If your life schedule only lets you do coursework on the weekends, work ahead of the schedule, not behind it. In other words, do the readings and post your answer for the upcoming work on Sunday. Don't wait until Saturday at the end of the unit to post your answers and respond. (In all seriousness, if you can only work on the course during the weekends, you'll have a hard time in this class.)

The discussion grades are based on both your initial answers to the questions and your responses to other people's posts. If you only answer the question and don't respond, you get less than half of the week's credit.

Note that class discussion makes up a substantial part of your grade. I have had past students drop from a B to a C because a low class discussion grade. You will not get a good grade if you simply do the homework and major assignments and don't participate in the class discussion. Likewise, you will not get a good grade if you wait until everyone else has posted and simply rehash what was said or say "I agree." It is quite obvious when you have not read the material and create a late post that is just a summary of other people's posts.

It is imperative that you contact me if an emergency occurs which will keep you from meeting the class schedule. I am unwilling to repeat material or give individual help to students who missed due dates because of an unexcused absence. (I am more than willing to work with you for excused absences.)


We'll be using the asynchronous discussion board utility on Blackboard as the primary means for exchanging ideas about various readings.

I will check the Blackboard discussions every day. Though I won't reply every post of yours, I'll chime in periodically. I typically let a few people post and receive responses before I post. I want the discussion threads to be a class conversation and don't want each post to turn into a 2 person conversation between me and you.

Discussion expectations

Other comments on discussion threads

Discussion etiquette

I reserve the right to delete posts that are inappropriate.

Time line for posting

Here is a timeline for the expectations for when to post. Discussion question postings should be posted early during the unit to allow time for responses. You should be responding to 2-3 student posts. Consistently posting on the last day is not a good idea if you want a good grade. Details on discussion grading are below.

Discussion grading

The discussion makes up a substantial part of your grade. Failing to participate or always being late (which really is the same as not participating) can severely effect your final grade.

Discussion grades have two components. Your initial post to the question and your response/participation in ongoing discussions about initial posts. Discussion grading is holistic and done at the end of the semester; posts are not graded individually.


Initial posts were on time and made multiple thoughtful responses to other student posts.

Provided thoughtful answers which shows a clear understanding of the material. Contributed to ongoing discussions through responses to other people's comments. The quality of the answer makes it clear you have read the material..


Made initial posts on time and responded to other student posts, but the overall quality ranged from very good to adequate

Provided an adequate number of discussion comments. Contributed to ongoing discussions through responses to other people's comments.


Frequently late on initial posts and had few responses or they lacked content (were clearly done just to have a response).

Comments addressed the topic, but were often lacking in adequate content. Contributions to the ongoing discussion were inadequate or not made. It is obvious that you have not read the material but are simply responding to other people's comments.


Missed posting to several discussions. Posts were late and lacked content.

Most classes, you post late in the week. Comments were mostly devoid of relevant content, off topic, or didn't contribute anything new. Repeating other people's comments, or consistently responding with comments such as "I agree" with no other content.

Not participating at all.

Blackboard provides me with a report of the posts you make. It is very clear who is participating and who is not.



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