10 Initial Discussion Post Writing Tips

Knowing how to write an initial discussion post is an essential skill for newbies or seasoned online students. But many online students find it challenging to write their first post. Accordingly, this post presents 10 tips to help you write compelling initial posts in your discussion assignments.

In today’s online learning environments, instructors expect students to participate in online discussions. Participation in online learning forums requires having relevant writing skills. Besides, finding a good discussion post template is a cause of concern for online students as well. We hope that you will integrate the tips provided in this post to finesse your ability to respond to discussion prompts.

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Initial Discussion Post

Parts of a Discussion Post

But what is an initial discussion post? An initial post is a springboard for launching your interaction with peers and instructors in a discussion forum.

Tip # 1: Wisley Manage Your Time

Online courses are opportunities for students to post their thoughts and ideas about coursework material. Instructors typically award points based on a rubric. So, you need to manage your time wisely if you want to earn good grades! But how can you do that? Respond as soon as you can once you receive a prompt. This way, your response invites everyone to comment for their benefit. Never wait for the weekend to write an initial discussion response. Why? Because of several reasons.

  1. It suggests an inability to manage your time.
  2. It is a sign of poor planning.
  3. Late posts diminish the ability of peers to participate in the discussion.
  4. You lose valuable marks and;
  5. Most faculty members do not review IP’s made over the weekend.

Plus, responding early demonstrates to potential employers your ability to respond to issues in the workplace quickly. Remember that employers look for people with excellent communication and time management skills. Posting repeatedly over the weekend suggests you lack these skills. Hence, use weekends to plan and work ahead instead of catching up. As the famous adage goes, “failure to plan is planning to fail.”

Initial Discussion Post

Tip # 2: Review Assigned Reading Material Before Writing

Although you are not required to read every word of the assigned texts, make sure you review the said material before writing an initial discussion post. Take your time to understand critical concepts and ideas in the readings. Why? Because these texts contain the evidence, you need to support or refute your peer’s arguments or views. Effectively integrating reading content also distinguishes your posts from personal opinions.

But avoid skimming over the assigned readings. Besides, pay attention to the discussion prompt’s grading rubric. Your ability to follow instructions is a vital soft skill both to your academic and professional advancement. Failure to adhere to simple guidelines will hurt your grades and credibility.

Tip # 3: Use Appropriate Headings in Your Initial Discussion Post

Typical discussion prompts have several questions. Craft relevant headings to increase the value of your initial discussion post. For example, APA’s discussion post format includes headings. Likewise, apply its recommendation when composing your initial discussion post. Here are a few suggestions on organizing prompt titles:

  1. Address each element of the prompt.
  2. Imbue your initial discussion post with an easy to read flow.
  3. Avoid using interior monologues to increase the focus of your post.
  4. Write in a manner that facilitates easier grading of your posts.

Tip # 4: Develop Critical Thinking Skills

For each prompt, make a note of its relevant thoughts and ideas. Nonetheless, stick to the topic of the discussion. Doing so signifies, you have in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand.

Caution! Avoid shallow thinking as it conveys little substance. Your post ideally should demonstrate an ability to think profoundly on issues. Besides, it is proof to your peers and instructors you can discern a prompt’s requirement, evaluate assigned readings, and integrate what you have learned.

Remember, this is not a quiz! It is a written assignment. So, do more than answering the prompt. But how do you do that? Use the following guidelines to polish the content of your discussion post:

  1. Demonstrate what you have learned instead of what you know.
  2. Showcase your critical thinking skills. Do so by considering alternative perspectives, the implication of findings, and conclusions drawn from the readings.
  3. Where possible, incorporate real-life scenarios and evidence from the readings as examples.
  4. Then again, remember online discussions are opportunities to teach others. Merely answering questions diminishes the effectiveness of collaborative learning. For effective learning to occur, your instructors expect you to integrate diverse information sources into a comprehensive initial discussion post.

Initial Discussion Post

Pro Tip: In addition to that, your writing’s quality and length demonstrate critical thinking skills. Use your favorite word processor to ensure you satisfied the required word count for typical initial posts. Your initial post should have a word count of between 250 and 300 words.

Tip # 5: Apply the MEAL Plan

Most students struggle with organizing paragraphs in an initial discussion post. If this is true in your case, then use the MEAL plan to do so. It is an acronym representing the parts of a discussion post.

  1. M = the main idea each paragraph of the initial discussion post conveys. Ensure that every section expresses a single view. Perhaps an argument, claim, or position taken regarding the topic.
  2. E = Evidence/Example. Elevate the level of your thinking as our how to respond to discussion posts examples demonstrate. We recommend using the MEAL plan to organize your paragraphs. Over the years, Myhomeworkempire.com writers have effectively used this model when extending discussion post help to students. And we recommend that you use it too.
  3. A = Analysis. In discussion posts, in-depth analysis is a crucial factor. It demonstrates your ability to create and present unique content in an ongoing discussion. Plus, analysis allows one to interpret evidence. Use this skill to state facts or figures in support or to refute a claim in the debate. The analysis also offers you a channel for persuading your readers about the merits of your claim, argument, or opinion.
  4. L = Link. Finally, wrap up your paragraph by leading readers to the next.

Tip # 6: Use Scholarly Sources to Support Claims

As a student, you typically have opinions about different topics that you want to articulate. Even so, only a few students can support their views with the appropriate evidence. Remember that the quality of the evidence you provide determines your arguments, opinions, or claims’ academic and professional credibility. Evidence offers your audience with authoritative references establishing your answer as scientifically sound. Always include supporting sources in your initial discussion post. As indicated previously, reputable evidence separates your beliefs from opinions. So cite authoritative news outlets, books, or magazines if you need to present more persuasive evidence. Peer-reviewed journals, periodicals, and books offer the most reliable unbiased proof for a position.

Tip # 7: Review the Grading Rubric

Review the discussion assignment grading rubric. Doing so reveals a faculty’s grading approach. Then, evaluate the content of your initial discussion post. Ask yourself, does it meet the requirements of the rubric? If yes, you’re on the path to earning an A in the assignment.

Tip # 8: Spell Check, Edit, and Format Your Initial Post

As a writer, you are responsible for spell checking, editing, and formatting your initial post. So, edit out anything that diminishes the readability of your submission. Avoid rushing a post just to beat the deadline. Reading a post aloud is an excellent way of double-checking clarity. Ask a peer to listen or read to help you identify mistakes and errors in your initial post. Consider contacting Myhomeworkempire.com experts online for assistance.

Also, use white space to improve the readability of your content. Otherwise, your readers will find it hard to comprehend what you posted. As a result, they become discouraged to read and may skim over a post looking for something more comfortable to read. Adhere to conventional styles of grammar, spelling, and writing mechanics to structure your initial discussion post.

Note that readers cannot help spotting spelling mistakes. They stand out like stains on a white cloth. We recommend using Grammarly’s Microsoft Word add-in to polish your post’s spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. It’s available for both mobile and desktop platforms. Correct all highlighted mistakes to create a good impression on your readers.

Tip # 9: Improve Your Pre-Writing Skills

Some initial discussion post examples may seem simple. But for most students, this is not so. Often inexperienced students are uncomfortable writing their first response. Some feel they are not ready or have nothing to contribute. But, do not shy away from composing an initial post because of that.

In learning environments, each one of us has unique insights and perspectives that can benefit others. Besides, you don’t have to answer the discussion prompt. You might as well ask incisive questions. Consider also applying or reviewing course content to provide a new interpretation. Even so, you might wonder how I improve my pre-writing skills. Here are a few suggestions to do so:

  1. Think ahead about the post you are to write: an initial discussion post should demonstrate deep critical thinking skills.
  2. Share unique insights: whether it is a personal opinion, experience, or something new, you just learned. But ensure you provide examples, explain details, and expand anecdotes.
  3. Where possible, include a question or two: use questions to encourage discussion, incite others to interact, and help find answers. This way, you benefit from an increased understanding of the course material.
  4. Allocate enough time for editing your post: never submit a post with spelling, typos, grammar, and inappropriate formatting. Edit your post for any errors and upload it only when you are sure it has none.
  5. Stick to the topic: only respond to the discussion post provided. If you need to ask a question or comment on another subject, email your concerns to the relevant authorities.
  6. Only offer meaningful feedback: this requires thinking deeply about the post you are writing. So, include reasons and explanations of your perspectives, claims, suggestions, or opinions. Also, consider posing follow-up questions to promote the discussion.
  7. Cite your sources accordingly: often, discussion assignments reference a specific text. If that is true in your case, cite the books appropriately.
  8. Beware of assignment submission deadlines: typical discussion posts have a due date. Just like face to face discussions, online discussions only happen within a specified timeline.

Tip # 10: Identify, Interpret, and Infer Principles from the Prompt

Virtual discussion prompts frequently identify the concept or topic under consideration and ask students to explore it. Potential issues may include an idea, event, place, or person referenced in the relevant coursework. Usually, this topic relates to what you are learning in your program.

Use a topic sentence to write your initial post. Summarize your post’s core idea, principle, or topic. Next, develop this idea into a coherent and detailed post while including relevant evidence where necessary.

And there you have it! Apply these tips correctly for success in composing your initial discussion post.

Pro Tip: in online discussion forums, never take comments personally. Keep it in mind that individuals interpret posts based on their personal experiences. In social interactions, humans infer a person’s meaning, regardless of their intention. Besides, the lack of visual cues complicates one’s ability to interpret a forum post. Hence, acquaint yourself with the rules governing online interactions. Doing so lets you avoid taking offense where none exists. Caution! Discussion boards are just, well, discussions! Don’t use these forums for trivial arguments, debates, or to belittle your peers.

Wrap Up!

A useful initial discussion post rarely succeeds by chance. It requires effort, wise time management, and excellent writing skills on your part. Plus, your active participation benefits others as well as yourself. It also indicates your professional and academic progression to peers, instructors, potential employers, and parents.

However, given the challenges of composing initial posts, consider reaching out to Myhomeworkempire.com for help. In a future post, we shall provide several samples of discussion board feedback examples.

So, keep visiting our blog for more!

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