GUIDELINES for Communications in the Discussion Board DB_DIRECTIONS

Postings to Discussion Board

The conventions of communication in the Online Course may differ from other types of online communication that you have experienced. Many websites provide information about what some refer to as "netiquette. The points noted below are highlights to keep in mind when making posts to a Discussion Board or a Wiki and when you are communicating with fellow students or instructors via email.

Online posts donít convey "tone": Humor, sarcasm, and other more subtle messages that might come through more clearly when there are facial gestures, body language and other non-verbal, interactive cues. Keep this in mind, as your online communications may not be interpreted as you intended them.

Think before you send: If you are angry or feel strongly about an online communication, pause before hitting submit. Consider re-reading the post, to make sure you understood the context fully. It may help to draft your post using a word processing program first. Then you may cut and paste it into your response. This will contribute to the clarity of your communication, and may build in a mechanism to require you to weigh what you have written. If you still feel the need to send an angry response, wait 24 hours before doing so.

You are in class: These college courses are in an online format Ė but donít forget, this is a (virtual) college environment. So itís important to remember that communication that would be considered inappropriate in a face-to-face classroom is inappropriate in an online classroom as well.

Offer criticisms but attempt to make them positive. Show civility and respect for otehrs. INTERACT with your classmates in a manner that will improve on the frequency and manner of INTERACTIONS in the LEARNING COMMUNITY.

Ask questions of one another. Offer answers. Ask for assistance with anything you do not understand. Offer assistance to others. Bring in online materials relevant to the matter being discussed.

Emoticons and Abbreviations: You may use such symbols ONLY in the Student Cafe or CHAT ROOM of this virtual classroom. ONLY in the Student Cafe or CHAT ROOM

These guidelines are brief and are meant to build on and refer to standards that have been developed at other colleges or universities. For example, see the University of Wisconsin guidelines here http://online.uwc.edu/Technology/onlEtiquette.asp

Another more detailed set of guidelines can be found here: http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html

Netiquette: As the discussion is of a public nature, please observe proper "netiquette" -- courteous and appropriate forms of communication and interaction. This means no personal attacks, obscene language, or intolerant expression. All viewpoints should be respected. Also, DON'T TYPE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. That's called "shouting" on the web, and it is considered rude.

Please follow these Netiquette Terms of Service or Conditions for Use:

No sloppy postings, please use a spell check and then copy and paste into the discussion box
No inflammatory messages, count to 10 before posting, No (masked) vulgarity,
No trolling
No spamming,
No mentioning of pink elephants, etc
YES, be polite
Yes, be helpful
Yes, copy and paste materials into your posts to support your positions
Yes, ask questions of your classmates
Yes, point out inconsistencies, contradictions and vagueness
Yes, respond to those you respond to you
acceptable posting language.

No spelling short cuts or emoticons,
No lower case "i" in referring to oneself.
No sentence fragments and sentences that begin without an upper-case letter.

Note: Submissions to a Student-led discussion after the module end date are welcome, but they are not included in the evaluation of your course activities.

On Netiquette see the module and take the review quiz here.

Basic terms
The Discussion Board (DB for short) is divided into separate forums. (You cannot start new forums; you can only respond to the forums that I have created.) Each forum is further subdivided into "threads"--topics or assignments. I do not allow anonymous postings, nor do I allow you to remove your postings. However, you can edit your postings as often as you want to.
Posting and Replying

Within each forum, the messages are listed with the subject towards the left side of the screen and the name of the person posting the message in the middle. To read a message, click the underlined subject (on the left) not the person's name. (Clicking the name either brings up an incomprehensible error message or an e-mail message form addressed to that person.)

Read each message. Once you open a message, you can get to the next one simply by clicking the words Next Post (Message)

If you want to reply to a message, click the Reply button beneath it. You can change the subject that appears (by deleting it and typing in a new one). Then type your message in the message box. When you're done, you can either click Preview to see how your reply will look before you submit it or click Submit to submit it.

Remember: If you forget to click Submit, your message will be lost forever.


Options for Listing and Reading Threads and Replies

Click VIEW UNREAD MESSAGES to see only the messages that you have not read.

Click COLLAPSE ALL (the box with the - in it on the top right side) to see all the threads. (When you do this, each thread that has at least one reply will have a + before it--but you won't see the reply until you click the + before the thread.)

Click EXPAND ALL (the box with the + in it on the top right side) to see all the threads and every reply to each thread.

Click SEARCH you start a search for specific messages based on keywords (e.g., you remember somebody said something about a key term, but you don't remember neither name of the person posting nor date of the posting. This way you can find a message quickly.).

After you finish reading a message, you can click Next Post (Message) to see the next one. If the words Next Post (Message) are gray instead of black, then there is no next message to click. Then just click the OK button on the bottom right to return to the list of messages.

Under the SEARCH option is a tab with the words SHOW OPTIONS on it. If you click this tab, you get additional options. All messages now have a check box in front which allows you to perform a certain action to all the messages you check. You can set all checked messages to be marked "as read" or "as unread." Or you can "collect" all checked messages, meaning the full text of these messages will be displayed on one page, and you can print them. If you want these check boxes to go away, simply click the tab which now reads HIDE OPTIONS.



Options for Listing and Reading Threads and Replies

Click VIEW UNREAD MESSAGES to see only the messages that you have not read.

Click COLLAPSE ALL (the box with the - in it on the top right side) to see all the threads.  (When you do this, each thread that has at least one reply will have a + before it--but you won't see the reply until you click the + before the thread.)

Click EXPAND ALL (the box with the + in it on the top right side) to see all the threads and every reply to each thread.

Click SEARCH you start a search for specific messages based on keywords (e.g., you remember somebody said something about a key term, but you don't remember neither name of the person posting nor date of the posting. This way you can find a message quickly.).



After you finish reading a message, you can click Next Message to see the next one.  If the words Next Message are gray instead of black, then there is no next message to click.  Then just click the OK button on the bottom right to return to the list of messages.

Under the SEARCH option is a tab with the words SHOW OPTIONS on it.  If you click this tab, you get additional options. All messages now have a check box in front which allows you to perform a certain action to all the messages you check. You can set all checked messages to be marked "as read" or "as unread." Or you can "collect" all checked messages, meaning the full text of these messages will be displayed on one page, and you can print them. If you want these check boxes to go away, simply click the tab which now reads HIDE OPTIONS.

  return to outline topics index