Discussion Questions

  • During each asynchronous week you will be asked to respond to questions about the readings.
  • Each discussion question is worth 20 points.

Initial Responses

Initial Responses to discussion questions will be scored 1 to 10, with “1” being vague and poorly developed responses and “10” being thoughtful and reflective. Thus, scores depend on the cogency of your arguments, avoiding over-generalizations and personal anecdotes, and incorporating course material. Your responses should be 125 – 250 words and are due by midnight Sunday of the week assigned. One point will be deducted for each day the response is late.

Secondary Responses

Secondary Responses are responses to classmates' initial responses. At least TWO secondary responses are required for each discussion question and, together, are also worth 10 points. Secondary responses will be scored "1” = overly general (e.g., “Nice post. Interesting ideas. Never thought of that.”), and “10” = specific and reflecting higher-order thinking (e.g., “Your point about X made me think more about Y and the way it relates to Z…” Or, “Your summary of X surprised me, as I interpreted that to mean Y… ”. Thus, scores again depend on addressing a specific part of classmates’ responses, incorporating course readings and terminology, and introducing new ideas or questions. Secondary responses should not exceed 125 words and are due by midnight Wednesday of the week after the initial response was due. Late secondary responses will not receive any points.

Practical Tips

  1. Use the Subject line

    • Rather than simply hitting “reply,” adding subject line titles like “Teapots are beautiful?” helps to foster interest. More importantly, subject line titles also inform readers of the main idea of your response, and so doing emphasize that you are adding something new to the discussion.
  2. Read EVERYTHING from your instructors and TA!

    • Be sure to read EVERYTHING from your instructors and TA, whether they reply directly to you or to someone else. The reading response forums are our primary source of interaction during asynchronous weeks and, as such, an important part of the way we can provide feedback, clarify an important point, expand on a given issue, etc.

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