Tips for online discussions

Quality contributions to online discussions

Use these models to build off someone else's project or subsequent contribution.

General principles

  1. Any question must be open ended. (It must not call for a binary (yes/no) answer.)
  2. It must evidence additional thought and/or additional research on your part.
  3. It must to invite continuing thought and/or research by the others unless it is a summary statement posted to conclude a long discussion.
  4. Point out apparent flaws in others thinking indirectly by asking them to explain themselves, or by pointing out some possible contradiction.
  5. All contributions must gracious and not hostile, even if you strongly disagree.

Call for a display of thinking or feeling

  1. To what extent would you agree that ...?
  2. What are some ways ...?
  3. What evidence do you have for ...?
  4. What are your reasons for ...?
  5. How would you answer the objection that ...?
  6. What examples would you cite to support your statement that ...?
  7. What sources would you cite to support your statement that ...?
  8. How do you see your idea about ... working out in ... situation?
  9. How do you feel about ...? [Name something in the readings, current events, or the class postings.]
  10. What reasons do you have for saying ...?
  11. Why do you agree (or disagree) on that point?
  12. How are you defining the term "..." as you just used it?
  13. What do you mean by that expression "..."?
  14. How is what you are saying here consistent with what you said before?
  15. Please clarify what you mean by "...".
  16. What are you implying when you say "..."?
  17. It appears that you and ... are contradicting each other. Please expand your remarks to show how you do agree, or explain the basis of you disagreement.
  18. It seems to me like you are contradicting yourself on the issue of .... Please explain how you are able to resolve the tension between ... and

Extending or summarizing statements:

  1. I think I would summarize our discussion here by saying ....
  2. Another issue that we should probably discuss here is .... [Now make an opening statement on that issue.]
  3. Another resource I found helpful on this topic is .... [Now explain why and how it is helpful.]
  4. What we are discussing here seem to me to apply to [name some current event in your church/area/country/world]. [Now state how you see it applying.]
  5. I am wondering if the converse of this is also true/valid. It seems to me that ....
  6. Another position that might be valid could be ....

Calls for clarification

  1. Will someone please help me understand the distinction between ... and ...?
  2. I don't understand what you mean by .... Will you please explain?

   — compiled by Dr. Marty Michelson Online discussion tips for students at University of Waterloo

SNU missions course materials and syllabi

Cultural Anthropology    Introduction to Missions    Linguistics    Missions Strategies    Modern Missionary Movement (History of Missions)    Nazarene Missions    Church Growth and Christian Missions    Theology of Missions    Traditional Religions    World Religions
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