Online discussions in Thomas Edison State College courses are asynchronous. That is, they are not conducted as chat rooms where all participants are present at the same time. Rather, you and the other participants contribute to threaded discussions that are accessible to everyone taking the course at the same time and, of course, to the mentor. There may be a deadline for your contributions to the discussion, and those contributions will be considered part of your coursework.
Communication among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion topic) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
Because the mentor will assign a grade for the discussion requirement of your course, quality of comment (both initial and subsequent) is critical. (You may wish to consider composing your comments in a separate file and then copying and pasting them—or even attaching the file—to the discussion.) While the mentor for the course may provide specific information regarding the length of the initial contribution, as a general guide we suggest a discussion thread of about 200 words.
When participating in online discussions, please use upper- and lowercase letters when writing, as the use of all capital letters online customarily signifies SHOUTING.