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Sample discussion questions for an article

May 6, 2018

Need General Statement on Discussion Board

Example One

Example Two

Example Three

Example Four


Discussion board questions will be posted throughout the semester. You are required to answer my question with your own well developed response.   You are required to then ask substantive and thoughtful questions of at least two (2) of your classmates.  Finally, you are required to answer at least two (2) questions that have been asked of you.

  1. The content of your postings must demonstrate an understanding of the relevant text material.

  2. Your initial posting must include your last name in the subject line.

  3. Your initial posting must be posted no later than midnight Wednesday of the week assigned.

  4. The questions you ask of your classmates must be posted no later than midnight Friday of the week assigned.  (These must be questions.  Credit will not be granted for comments and observations)

  5. Your answers to the questions asked of you must be posted no later than midnight Sunday of the week assigned.  These should be substantive in nature.



Discussion Post Grading Rubric by Bill Pelz

In this course your final grade will be determined mostly by the quality and quantity of your submissions to the graded discussions:

  1. Web Site Discussions:

    Your assignment is to locate, review and lead a discussion on a website that presents new information relevant to the content of the module. In addition, you must participate in the discussion of websites reviewed by other students in the class.

  2. Chapter Discussions:

    Your assignment is to ask a good critical-thinking question for each chapter and facilitate the discussion of that question. In addition to leading the discussion of your question, you must also participate in the discussion of additional questions asked by other students in the class. Every module covers two or more chapters.

Discussion Post Quality Grading:
If everyone is fulfilling their responsibility, most discussion posts will receive three separate grades:

Discussion posts are graded on a 0 – 4 point scale according to the Discussion Post Quality Grading Rubric presented below. Note that both the Comment Field and the Subject Line figure into the quality score the post receives. 


  1. Peer Evaluations:

    Each reply you submit to a discussion forum should begin with your 0 - 4 evaluation of the quality of the post you are replying to. Place your


    score in parentheses as the first thing in your reply.

  2. Student Self-Evaluations:

    Every post you submit to a discussion forum (new posts and replys) should end with the quality score (0 - 4 points) you think your post deserves. Place your


    score in parentheses at the end - like this (4).

  3. Professor Evaluations:

    I will record the "official" 0 - 4 point value for each discussion post (up to the maximum of 12 per student) as I read it. At the conclusion of each module, I will update your ANGLE Grade Book with your final grade on each discussion, and provide you with a record of how many posts you submitted and your total quality score.


Discussion Post Quality Grading Rubric:
The quality of every discussion post is evaluated according to this rubric. (For each student, a maximum of 12 posts will be graded per discussion forum.)



Grading criteria


Excellent (A)

The comment is accurate, original, relevant,

teaches us something new

, and is well written. Four point comments add substantial teaching presence to the course, and stimulate additional thought about the issue under discussion. Documentation for factual information is provided.


Above Average (B)

The comment lacks at least one of the above qualities, but is above average in quality. A three point comment makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the issue being discussed.


Average (C)

The comment lacks two or three of the required qualities.Comments which are based upon personal opinion or personal experience often fall within this category.


Minimal (D)

The comment presents little or no new information. However, one point comments may provide important social presence and contribute to a collegial atmosphere .


Unacceptable (F)

The comment adds no value to the discussion.

No penalty

Excellent Subject Line

The subject field is a complete sentence, and conveys the main point of the comment. The reader clearly understands the main point of the comment before reading it.

1 point penalty

Descriptive Subject Line

The subject field provides key word(s) only. The reader knows the general area that the comment deals with.

2 point penalty

Subject Line is not acceptable

The subject field provides little or no information about the comment

*Note: I will not negotiate discussion point ratings. There may be times you feel you deserve more, or fewer, points on a particular response. Over the length of the course, these will probably balance out.


From Marie Andreoli

Instructions for posting to the discussion forum: 

  1. You must answer the discussion question each week.  You must also respond to one other learner per discussion question.  You may respond to more than one learner, as it will greatly add to the discussions.

  2. If you use references, such as your text or a journal article, you must cite references in the body of your discussion and show your reference directly after the discussion text. 

  3. Please be very cognizant of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as you will lose points for errors.

  4. Use APA format for your references.

  5. Do not use attachments when posting.

  6. Only respond to questions that are posted in the discussion forum.  If you have a comment regarding anything else in the course, please contact me via email.

  7. Please put your name at the end of all comments.

  8. No cyber speak please.  Use correct grammar, English, and punctuation.

 Guidelines for the Discussion Forum:

Please make your response at least 75 words in length.  This is only a guideline however.  If you have more to say, you should do so.  If you cannot meet 75 words, post what you have as I will evaluate you on what you have written.

Responses to other learners should take into consideration the substance of what they have written.  It will add greatly to the discussion if you can interject a question pertaining to the week’s reading in your response.  A question may generate more discussion which is beneficial to learning. Be supportive and encouraging to your classmates.  Try to offer feedback that is meaningful to the discussion and to your classmate. 

Giving and receiving feedback:

  1. Please use the name of the person you are replying to.

    That way I can follow the discussion more easily.

  2. Plan what you are going to say.  Make notes ahead of time so your comments make sense. 

  3. Pay attention to the content…direct your comments to the work without any personal comments. 

  4. Agree with what you know to be true even if you don’t agree with the principle. 

  5. Accept that others have opinions also and are entitled to them.

  6. When reviewing feedback from another, pay attention to what is being said.

  7. Remember, just because someone disagrees with you does not mean that person does not like you.  It is hard to dislike someone you have never met before.

  8. Attempt to make a connection with other students.  One of them may become your best friend.

 Checklist for posting to the discussion:

  1. Does the contribution fit with the dialogue, or have you gone off on a tangent.

  2. Are your ideas logically organized and written clearly?

  3. Are the ideas worthwhile or just filler?

  4. Can the reader (classmates and instructor) easily determine the main point?

  5. Does the contribution add to the discussion?

  6. Can you provide examples for your contributions?

  7. Are you respectful of others’ ideas?

  8. Are spelling, punctuation, and grammar correct?

  9. If you referenced your text or other works, did you provide proper citation and references?

Sometimes students really need you to spell out the requirements of the discussion board. You might find the sample rubric below to be helpful.

A total of 5 points is available for each mandatory discussion question. It's a good idea to log in to the course three separate days per week to keep up with the discussion.

DQ Participation Tips:

Your participation in the discussion question is assessed using the rubric shown below:



1.5 points

1 point

Needs Improvement
.5 point

0 points


Content is complete, accurate and offers new ideas.

The discussion is well supported with details that explain the participant’s conclusions.

Content encourages further discussion on topic.

Content is complete and accurate, but lacking in new ideas, or there may be one areas an opinion is presented without supporting facts or references.

Content generally doesn't invite further discussion or investigation.

Ideas were incomplete or had inaccuracies, or there are two or more opinions are presented without supporting facts.

Response was not applicable to the discussion or did not follow Netiquette.

Critical Thinking

Clear evidence of critical thinking (application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). Postings are characterized by originality and relevance to the topic.

Some critical thinking evident, but posting may not directly address the issue.

Lacking critical thinking. Postings tend to address peripheral issues. Generally accurate, but with omissions or clear recitation.

Lacking critical thinking. Postings tend to be inaccurate or unclear.



Answer is on or before the due date.

Participant’s answer is late but before the end of the week.

Participant did not participate in the discussion.

Involvement and Responsiveness


Enters class 3 days per week and responds to other students. Communication encourages further responses, raises questions or politely offers alternative perspectives.

Enters class 2 or fewer days per week and/or fails to responds to others. Interaction is best described as "good idea ..." and of little substance to continue discussion.

Does not enter class during the week and/or fails to respond to others.

 Rubric provided by Terry Morris


From Lisa Hall

LEAD 110 ONLINE Weekly Discussion Criteria

The discussion weeks in this course will run each week from Sunday through Saturday at 11:59 p.m.You should understand up front that this class may require more discussion participation than other online classes you may have taken. The subject of Leadership is not like basic math where assignments are due and answers are either right or wrong. The discussion requirements in this class are not negotiable. It is your responsibility to meet the requirements as they are. If you are going to have aproblem meeting the requirements and you don’t want your grades to suffer, you should seriously consider transferring to another class.


Discussion questions for the semester are posted in separate forums for each week in the Discussion Board. Weekly discussion will begin no earlier than Sunday of each week. Your Weekly Discussion grade is based onyour response to these questions and to your classmates throughout each week. You may choose to work ahead and save your work; however DO NOT post anything in the weekly forum until the week begins on Sunday; otherwise we will all be overwhelmed by multiple discussions.

Whereas in a classroom you would listen to what your classmates have to say, in an online class, you have to read what they have to say. Therefore, you are responsible for reading every message posted on Blackboard, whether you think it pertains to you or not. Doing this not only helps you to understand the material better, but many times I will answer questions or bring up important material in a response to another student and it may not come up elsewhere. After the first couple of weeks, you should be spending more time on the messages that are most important to you and be able to skim the other messages for important information.


Every week, you are expected at minimum, to:

  1. Submit at least two substantive posts (responses) per discussion week. Substantive means

that you must take time in formulating your response, organizing your own thoughts and incorporating

the reading materials (you should be citing parts of the book and/or other reading materials in your

posts). You must demonstrate evidence of critical thinking and prompt further discussion of the topics

among your classmates. Even if there is only one discussion question for a particular week, you must

still have two substantive posts.

  1. Submit at least two additional posts directly to your classmates. These posts may be shorter

than your two substantive responses, but must be more significant than one-word responses. This is

your opportunity to discuss the information further with your classmates or to discuss whether you

agree or disagree and state why or why not. Remember to stay on or at least close to the topic of

leadership. (For example: “I love shopping at Walmart” is not an appropriate response in a discussion

about leadership training at Walmart - that has nothing to do with leadership.) Try to focus on

meaningful discussion vs. your number of posts, otherwise it becomes clear that you are posting just to

try to meet the requirements.


In addition to quality, also included in your grade is the frequency with which you are “in class,” in other words the amount of times you log onto Blackboard and participate throughout each week. I keep a close eye on this and you will lose points if you do not meet the minimum requirements.

Although some students choose to log on every day, that is NOT a requirement for this class! Once you are in a routine, the requirements should be very reasonable. In order to earn full points, you are required to participate at least once between each Sunday and Wednesday and once between each Thursday and Saturday of every discussion week (your additional posts can fall anywhere during the week. Here are some guidelines to help you with your participation each week.


Our discussion weeks end on Saturdays at 11:59 p.m. Any posts made to the weekly discussion after this time will not count toward your weekly point total. And, unless you absolutely have to make another statement, please refrain from posting anything after the deadline. It is inconsiderate to your fellow students who are ready to move on to the next week and have to go back to read late posts. Weekly discussion is the opportunity for the class to discuss the topics each week. Therefore, there are no opportunities for you to make up a week of discussion if you miss one.

However, I understand that everyone has a rough week or a crisis once in a while, so keep in mind that there is one “free” week built into the grading. Your free week may not be used for the first week of class nor the last two weeks of class under any circumstances. If you miss any discussion weeks beyond your one free week for any reason, you will not be able to make up those discussion points. If you participate in all 12 weeks of discussion, this means you are eligible to earn up to 50 extra points. I have also added an Extra Credit assignment available only to students who have missed no more than 2 weeks of discussion.

Please do not ask for extra credit beyond this under any circumstances because there really are no exceptions!

REQUIRED FORMAT (Read carefully…)

You must begin every message with an appropriate greeting. For example, if your message is to the entire class, “Class,” “Dear Class,” “Class and Lisa,” “Hello Everyone,” etc. If your message is in response to a person or persons, “Lisa,” “Mary and John,” etc. You must also end every message by signing your first name. I expect you to spend time making sure you are communicating professionally in this class. This means proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. Writing your posts similar to the way you text message friends is not appropriate!

Pay close attention to where you are posting your messages to make sure the discussion stays organized and  easy for everyone to follow. When you are responding to a question or to another person’s posts, you should reply to the specific message, not create a new thread. For example, you should reply to a weekly discussion question with your answer, but you should create a new thread if you are posting a question in the Ask Your Faculty forum. If you have questions about this, please ask.


The grading for weekly discussion is worth 50 points per discussion week. The specific point breakdown is as follows:

47 - 50 Points – Exemplary

The student has participated above the minimum level in both quantity and clarity of communication in discussion postings. The student:

42-46 Points – Good Work

The student met minimum requirements. The student:

30-41 Points – Needs Improvement

The student consistently contributed less than the minimum postings or postings were lacking thought and reference to course materials. The student:

0-30 Points – Failing

The student is clearly not spending time on this course. The student:

By Tekhnologic

What discussion activities work in class? Tekhnologic, winner of the British Council’s Teaching English blog award for a post on setting discussion goals, shares a few ideas.

A discussion can bring out your students’ interests and motivate them; it’s a chance for them to talk about the things they really care about. Giving and justifying opinions in English can also bring students a sense of accomplishment, as they are using the language to express complex ideas.

Discussion activities encourage critical thinking, and are therefore excellent preparation for speaking tests, such as IELTS or TOEFL, which partly examine the ability to express and justify opinions in English.

Perhaps most importantly, discussion activities can be great fun for students.

Preparing for discussion classes

The first thing you need to be aware of is the language ability of your students and how much they know about the topic under discussion. This is important if you want to encourage real, free-flowing conversation. Get it wrong and students can get bored or, worse, feel intimidated and lose confidence.

When setting discussion questions, make sure the language and topic aren't too demanding. Don't try to begin a discussion about global economic theory with elementary-level students.

You need to grade the language of the questions to suit the level of your students, and check they understand any complex vocabulary or grammar in advance.

Find out what topics interest your students and get them to research the topic before the lesson.

Be careful with topics that may lead to embarrassment or offense. It's probably a good idea to steer clear of politics, religion and sex.

How much preparation you need to do before class depends on the kind of discussion taking place, and the needs of the students. An unplugged approach, which lets students direct the lesson content, might suit a more confident group of learners.

Some learners prefer a more structured discussion, in which case you may need to work out a plan for who will be talking, for how long, etc. By structuring the discussion and rotating roles, all students get to speak. This can help prevent some students dominating the discussion and others getting left out.

Where to find discussion topics

Discussion activities often begin with questions. A good place to start is, which has a large selection of topics, each with a long list of questions. provides songs that can be used to introduce a discussion topic and to look at it through the song’s lyrics. If you prefer your discussion topics to be current affairs, check out Breaking News English for the latest articles.

Rewordify takes a text and simplifies the language so that it is easier to read or understand. Intermediate students may like this site because it can help them increase their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension.

Alternatively, you can encourage the students to think of their own topics. You could even get them to work in groups to create questions for other groups to discuss.

Activities that help students organise their ideas

Some activities are based on helping students organise their ideas. Producing mind maps in class can act as prompts to keep the discussion going, and help students expand on the topic and order their ideas.

Clines are useful ways for learners to order information on a scale. For example, you might have 'agree strongly' at one end and 'disagree strongly' at the other. There is an activity called ‘Favourites’ in Five-Minute Activities that uses a cline in this way. You have five choices: A, B, C, D, E. Each choice represents a sentence or an opinion. The students ask their partner which they agree with the most, which they like least, and order their choices on a cline for comparison.

There's an examination for young people to go to university. I failed it three times. I failed a lot. So I applied to 30 different jobs and got rejected. I went for a job with the police; they said, 'You're no good.' I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. Jack Ma

Conducting Educational Research
Step 19: Write Discussion and Conclusion

The second to last step in conducting a research study is to interpret the findings in the Discussion section, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. It is important that everything in this last section is based off of the results of the data analysis. In an empirical research study, the conclusions and recommendations must be directly related to the data that was collected and analyzed. Simply put, look at the key topics in the conclusion and recommendations. If that topic was not precisely assessed by the questionnaire, then you cannot draw a conclusion or make a recommendation about that topic. A paper can only make valid conclusions and recommendations on those variables that the study has empirical data to support.

For example, almost every single paper written in Nigeria that I read recommends that the government should provide more teaching materials and increase the salaries of teachers. However, better instructional materials and adequate pay are rarely even distantly related to the topic of the paper! Draw conclusions and make recommendations only directly related to the purpose and results of the study. Everybody in Nigeria knows that schools need more materials and teachers need higher salaries Draw conclusions and make recommendations that are meaningful, unique, and relate to the results of the study.

Most papers require five different sections for the Discussion, although the order may vary depending on the requirements of the paper. Each section is described separately below.


This section might be called Discussion or it might be called Summary of Findings. The purpose of this section is to highlight the major statistical findings from the results section and interpret them. First, restate the overall purpose of the study. Then explain the main finding as related to the overall purpose of the study. Next, summarize other interesting findings from the results section. Explain how the statistical findings relate to that purpose of the study. One way to do this is to take every research question and hypothesis in turn and explain in plain terms what the statistical results mean. Also describe how the results are related to education in general. All explanations must be supported by the results of the data analysis.

Generally, the Discussion section does not need to include any numbers. No statistics need to be repeated from the results, nor does the discussion need to refer to table numbers. Instead, simply explain the results in language that is easy for a non-researcher to understand.

Also try to integrate the findings into the results of other research studies. An example paragraph from a Discussion section is given below:

This study found that Nigerian teachers have a mix of beliefs regarding early literacy development, some accurate beliefs and other inaccurate beliefs. The teachers sampled in this study were accurate in their agreement about the importance of oral language. Indeed, with the lack of materials often available for early childhood educators in Nigerian classrooms, instruction focused on oral language may be one of the most successful and cost-effective ways of improving early literacy skills. The four instructional strategies previously mentioned - songs, rhymes, and word play; storytelling; circle time; and dramatic play (Roskos et al., 2009) - are relatively easily to implement and require few instructional materials. However, agreeing to the importance of oral language in literacy development is different from having the expertise to effectively teach oral language skills. Additional research needs to be conducted to determine how well early childhood education teachers use instructional strategies that promote oral language in the classroom. Particularly in Africa where high quality reading materials are oftentimes scarce, early childhood teachers need to be well trained in teaching strategies that foster oral language.


Next, give recommendations based on the results of the study. What practical steps can educators take to implement the key findings of the research study? Remember, these recommendations must be supported by the statistical findings from the data analysis. If the statistical results found that a new teaching program improves mathematical exam scores, then the only valid recommendation that can be made is that the new teaching program should be implemented in order to improve exam scores. However, if the data analysis found that the new teaching program does not improve mathematical exam scores, then the researcher cannot conclude that the new teaching program should be implemented, because the program was found to be ineffective in improving exam scores.

Educators can only change their own behavior; they cannot change the government. Therefore, the most beneficial recommendations will be ones that educators themselves can implement.

Below is a sample recommendation. Notice how the first sentence provides the empirical support for the recommendation.

This study found that there is considerable variation in thestudents' judgments of acceptability of ethical study practices, providing evidence that university students are not certain about the right way to study. Thus, teachers need to spend class time educating students about positive, effective study skills. Few students understand and use good study practices without explicit instruction (Weinstein, Meyer, Husman, Van Mater Stone, & McKeachie, 2006). Therefore, direct instruction in study skills is necessary. For example, teachers should instruct their students on how to set goals for their educationlearning as well as instruction on specific study practices such as effectively reading textbooks and studying notes for the exam. When teachers spend the time necessary for teaching study skills, then students will not be uncertain about ethical study practices and will be more prepared for their exams. As Murdock and Anderman (2006) note, students who are confident in their abilities engage in less cheating behaviors.

After the recommendations have been written, reread each recommendation. Consider which statistical result from the results section supports that recommendation. If there is no statistical result to support the recommendation, then it must be canceled.


All studies have limitations in terms of the sample, measurement or manipulation of key variables, and procedure for data collection. This section should report the limitations that resulted from the research methods. How could the research be conducted with a different research design? How may the participants and sampling techniques not be representative of the target population? How might the target population be limited? How were the instruments inadequate? Were there any problems with the treatment? What problems resulted from the study's procedures? What other unexpected problems arose in the data collection?

I frequently read that the study was limited by time, money, or other resources. However, every single research study ever conducted in the history of this world was limited by money, resources, and time. These factors are external to the study and should not be mentionedd.

A sample Limitations section is given below.

One of the limitations of this research study was the constitution of the sample. First, students were not randomly selected from a larger population to participate in the study. Information about the study was sent home with all of the students at Tonganoxie Elementary School. The parents then had to sign and return an informed consent document. This might have biased the sample. However, the teachers at Tonganoxie Elementary School commented that students from a range of ability levels participated in the study. The sample was also relatively homogeneous with mostly Caucasian middle class students who lived in a relatively rural community. Therefore, the results might not generalize to other student populations, particularly those in an urban community or those with greater diversity in ethnicity and social class.

Since the experimenter in the study also authored the paper, the experimenter might have biased students' responses during the task. However, this conclusion was unlikely since the results for the Number Series task were contrary to the original hypothesis. Regardless, a blind administration of the experiment would have been desirable.

A ceiling effect also most likely influenced performance on the Equivalence task, with most students having nearly perfect scores. This effect might have masked differences in performance between the Pictorial and Numeral conditions, particularly in the high ability and second grade samples.

Suggestions for Further Research

Every research study provides one or two answers about education, but also opens the door for five to ten additional questions. Based on the Discussion/Summary of Findings and Limitations of the study, what additional research should be conducted? What questions arose because of the major finding of your study? How can other research studies improve over the limitations that were described in the Limitations section? A sample of Suggestions for Further Research section is below.

Educational researchers need to continue conducting empirical research to ascertain the factors that contribute to cheating amongst students. First, researchers should identify the types of malpractices that are most frequent amongst students. Second, researchers should determine what types of factors influence students to engage in examination malpractice. Finally, experimental research should be conducted to test various strategies for preventing examination malpractice to determine which strategies are most effective.


The final section of the paper is the Conclusion section. Briefly summarize the overall conclusion of the data analysis based on the purpose of the study. Also explain the importance of the major finding to educational practice. An example conclusion is given below.

Literacy is a fundamental human right (UNESCO, 2006). However, learning how to read is a difficult endeavor that requires competent instructors. This study provided evidence that primary school teachers in Nigeria need additional professional development to improve their beliefs about literacy development so they can be more effective literacy instructors. Only competent, well trained teachers will help Nigerian children develop a high level of literacy that is necessary for being effective in today's world.


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