Online Study Tips: Participating in Online Discussions

Taking online classes is a bit different than taking traditional in-person classes. Taking a class on campus means there is often a discussion like atmosphere where professors and students can share ideas and ask questions. This process is a bit different with online learning, but there’s still a chance to interact with your professors and fellow students.

Often times you will be given discussion questions or prompts to participate in an online discussion. For example, you may be asked to read a chapter in a book and then present your opinions on one or more questions posed by your professor. Most often you’ll also be required to respond to at least a couple of posts by your classmates in order to encourage discussion and the exchange of ideas.

Sometimes students see these types of assignments as a waste of time, but that certainly isn’t the case. Participating in online discussions can help cement ideas that you came across in the readings. It can also help you see if you understand the material in a similar way to your classmates. Sometimes students will just basically agree with what their classmates posted because they don’t want to be disagreeable.

In fact, you should use this as an opportunity to ask questions to help everyone understand the material better. That’s not to say you should start an argument or disagree just to be contrarian, but encouraging discussion and critical thinking are what higher learning is all about. If you do disagree with something a classmate says, do so in a respectful manner. Remember that sometimes what you say online may be misunderstood, so write in clear and complete sentences.

Take advantage of all the opportunities that come along with online learning including participating in online discussions, being able to study from wherever you want, and being able to manage your own time.