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2013 Critical Thinking, American English Institute, University of Oregon

DISCUSSION INFORMATION Online discussions take some time to get used to. You may not feel comfortable at first, especially if this is your first online course. However, with practice, youll get better at it, and youll see how beneficial such conversations can be to your learning and your development of critical thinking skills. I. GENERAL INFORMATION: Each week, there will be one or more discussion topics. To make the most of it, you should visit the discussion board as frequently as you can. This way, youll be able to keep up with the posts and with how the discussion is developing. You are expected to contribute meaningfully to the development of the discussions. You are encouraged to post early in the week and check back regularly to interact with colleagues by commenting and building on their ideas. This will naturally move the discussion forward. Please keep posts between 250- 350 words. This pertains especially to your primary post in which you type your answer to the prompt(s) in a given discussion. By minding the word limit, you practice critical thinking in either expanding your response and adding significant substance, or by paring down repetition or unnecessary details to be more succinct. Most often, you will answer the discussion prompt(s) in one post and then submit another (or multiple) post(s) that contain comments, questions, etc. on a colleagues message. In other words, the response to the discussion prompt and your interaction with another colleague can be in separate messages. Youll see that this is, in fact, a more natural way to communicate on Discussion Board. Unless otherwise noted in the discussion prompt, each discussion allows you to earn up to 5 points. Here is a checklist you can use for yourself to ascertain that you have done quality work in each discussion: 1. I explicitly addressed all parts / instructions (e.g. including proper references/citations to readings) of the discussion prompt succinctly ___ Yes ____ Partly ___ No 2. I expressed my ideas clearly and logically ___ Yes ____ Partly ___ No
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2013 Critical Thinking, American English Institute, University of Oregon

3. I used clear, professional language and proper writing mechanics ___ Yes ____ Partly ___ No 4. I interacted with at least one other course colleague in some depth and in a respectful manner ___ Yes ____ Partly ___ No 5. *I contributed with dialogue that developed ideas and moved the discussion forward or added something new ___ Yes ____ Partly ____ No *When we give a 5 (=excellent/exceptional work) we are looking for a post or series of posts that move the discussion to a new place, develop ideas and build on what has been said.

II. COMMON PROBLEMS THAT RESULT IN POINT(S) DEDUCTION. (The more severe the problem, the more points will be taken off.) 1) The response is minimal and/or does not address the discussion prompt(s) completely or clearly 2) There is no connection with another colleagues ideas. This is a monologue or lecture, not an invitation to dialogue. Alternately, theres only minimal connection to another colleagues ideas. Ex: I agree with Susan is insufficient. You should be able to elaborate on what exactly you agree with or disagree with (paraphrase) in another persons message 3) The response is hard to understand, wordy, and/or too lengthy Keep in mind that posts should be succinct and clear. If you include too many ideas in a message, the chances of it being read by others decrease. We will have plenty of reading each week, so keep your messages relatively brief and to the point. This also resembles a real discussion in which people exchange ideas in manageable chunks. Read your own message back to yourself before submitting to check for clarity of ideas and language. 4) The language used is unprofessional. There may be spelling and punctuation errors that interfere with meaning. Please use the spell check and follow academic writing conventions. Though we want to build a friendly and collegial atmosphere, we also want to maintain a certain level of formality and professionalism. Please avoid using phone texting language/spelling.
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2013 Critical Thinking, American English Institute, University of Oregon

5) A large portion of the response is quoted material (copied & pasted) which may or may not be only loosely tied to the rest of the submission, if there is any. Quote judiciously. Try to paraphrase as much as possible, include your sources, and be sure that you go on to explain the significance or relevance of ideas. 6) Quoted or copied/pasted material (whether from articles or other participants postings) has not been cited. This constitutes plagiarism and will not be tolerated. You will not receive any credit if any part of your submission if it is found to have been plagiarized. ALWAYS CITE YOUR SOURCE.