Discussion Forum Participation


As if things were not changing enough this quarter, we will be using a new platform for hosting discussions: Piazza. I've heard great things about it. You should have all received an invitation to sign up for it. Please do so quickly so you can start racking up the participation points!

General guidelines for discussions

Although we're not face-to-face, you will be expected to interact in a professional and respectful manner.

A good general method for discussion replies (especially to posts of your fellow students) is the "CCCQ method": Compliment, Comment, Connect, and Question: Say something nice about the other post, add your own content, make a connection to some other concept / example / application or post, and add a follow-up question (to keep the discussion going). Another good type of post is a question about how to interpret some concept from class, or your take on someone else's question.

There will also be discussion threads for questions etc about the assignments.

And since we are living in trying times, I'll have a topic about dealing with COVID-19-related issues (but that won't be part of the grading for this class unless there are extraordinary contributions).


In this online-only modality of the class, discussion will be especially important for helping you and your classmates engage with (and thereby learn) the concepts from the class.

I will be posting some questions and activities. You should also respond to other students posts. Plan on participaating in the discussions at least twice a week, so you can provide your own answers and respond to others'.

My primary role will be to initiate discussions which will help you engage more deeply with the course content. You should not expect me to respond to every post – there are a lot of you, and I want to encourage you to respond to each other. I will also reply if I see some threads going off-track, and will try to make connections between your posts (which you are also encouraged to do). Likewise, I will try to summarize discussions and you are encouraged to make summaries too.

  • Expectations are (the equivalent of) at least TWO "meaty" postings a week as part of a discussion for this course.
  • I will create some "conversation starter" questions for each week of class, but you are not limited to these topics. If you're interested in something else, start a new thread and see what your co-learners have to say. (more about this below)
  • Good ideas merit sharing with others, and discussion of your ideas through threaded discussions can be fun.
  • It is absolutely guaranteed that when you participate in discussion forum discussions you will learn more, learn more about how to learn, learn more easily, get new perspectives, form different beliefs about your own capabilities through interaction with others, and remember the material longer. Humans are social creatures. We always have been.
  • You will have to read and keep up with the videos to participate in the discussions. If you keep to a discussion schedule, this will also prompt you to keep to a study schedule. To encourage this, each weekly discussion topic is only open for 10 days, from the beginning of that week's "scheduled" class.
  • It is a very effective learning tool for you to attempt to answer questions of others, even if you are not sure. You will learn a great deal. Be brave!
  • Discussions are for the joy of participating in the community of scholars, and ease of learning the material; do not feel that you are competing with others to "look" good.

Ideas for discussion posts

You can, of course, make postings about anything relevant to the readings and in-class discussion for that week. And you are expected to post your answers to the exercises. Some other possibilities:

  • Ideas of your own that the reading has inspired
  • Examples of how principles or guidelines are violated or followed well.
  • Questions or comments on related issues (e.g. changes in education due to adoption of some technology).
  • Supplemental discussion of a part of the reading that you believe you fully understand
  • Clear description of a part you do not understand, also stating what you think the author(s) might be saying, and what is confusing.
  • Content in the readings that you think is wrong
  • Content in the readings you think is right
  • Other scientific communities you think would benefit from the knowledge in the readings.

Peter Hastings (peterh@cdm.depaul.edu) 2020-03-29 Sun 11:37