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Write ALL work in word-processing software (like Microsoft Word) first. This lets you use the grammar and spell check functions to create well-written posts that are error free. It also creates a copy of your work if there are technical difficulties. There’s nothing worse than typing out a careful response and then losing it when you post it. 




  1. Read Directions – Follow the instructions carefully. Exact directions can be found in the syllabus. When you don’t notice requirements like word length or minimum number of posts, you may lose points without knowing why.
  2. Say Something Substantive – Discussion Boards show your knowledge or opinion of the material, so use it! Don’t simply agree with another classmate’s post because she made a good point. You also want to provide evidence or support your point with either a quote or paraphrase from the text (and cite your sources). Aim for more than 2 or 3 lines, even in a reply. If an instructor doesn’t specify words, one guideline is 150 words for a first post and 75 when responding to a classmate.
  3. Don’t Procrastinate – Don’t wait until the deadline because last-minute responses tend to be shallow and lack substance. Discussion boards are supposed to be like conversations where a person thinks about another’s comment and then adds to it.
  4. Ask a Question if You’re Confused – Contact your instructor and get your question answered correctly. If you simply follow what others are doing on the board, you may be wrong.
  5. Review Your Post for Clarity and Tone – Write in complete sentences. Don’t write in text speak. Don’t write in all caps, swear, or use slang. Even though you are writing online, you should still use academic language. Reread for mistakes before you hit send or risk losing points.
  6. Know the basic Technical Skills – You need to be able to create and attach documents, use the internet, and download necessary software to participate. If you can’t, find an online tutorial or have someone walk you through it until you are comfortable.