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Discussion Board is the online classroom

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By Amber Kohagen
Collegiate Staff Writer

Online classes are wonderful for students that live far away or have trouble making it to classes.

The meat and potatoes of the online class is the discussion board. This is the online classroom for students to share ideas, answer questions, and do the bulk of the class work.

Being on the internet and so removed from physical reality, I don’t think the discussion board is being treated with the respect it should be.  Being online comes with a certain feeling of anonymity. It’s easy just to type whatever comes to mind, but it’s important to remember that it is a class.

Especially in classes that touch on serious issues like politics or religion, it might be tempting to “correct” people that have different views. Don’t. Just don’t. Discussion boards can get filled with back and forth between two students with differing opinions. That’s not what the discussion board is for. Stick to the text.

History classes, in my experience, are a breeding ground for these types of debates.

It’s an election year and everyone wants to share his or her opinion on Romney or Obama. That may be appropriate for certain classes, but a discussion assignment on the Civil War does not benefit from a comment on how Obama is destroying the country or how Fox News is rubbish. Feel free to be open, but other students don’t want to see it.

And don’t even try to be sarcastic. Sarcasm does not translate well into text and produces nothing but misunderstandings.

Another thing that needs to be kept in mind is to edit what is to be posted. Like I said before, this is a class. Our generation is so used to typing shorthand and not worrying about capitalization or grammar, and that shows on the discussion board.

Remember that this is not a text to a friend or a post on Facebook; grammar matters. This shouldn’t need to be said, but capitalize the first word of a sentence. Also try to stay away from using “lol.” School is not funny.

Some web browsers will underline misspelled words but some will not. Be cautious of this and look words up if necessary. This isn’t so much for the sake of clarity as for the sake of academia.

The discussion board is the virtual classroom and should be treated as such. If it’s not appropriate to say to someone’s face, don’t post it.

Stay on topic; leave the conspiracy theories and finger-wagging at the door. Just because the class is on the internet doesn’t mean it can be an unsupervised free-for-all. This is supposed to be a college class, not a YouTube comments section. Also, punctuation and grammar matter; we’re not kids anymore. We need to present ourselves as educated college students.