The discussion forum is where you will write to explore your own development and understanding of a topic or project and engage with your fellow students to share knowledge. This guide can help you to both write a discussion forum post and respond to others'. 

Write great discussion board posts by following these steps:

1. Understand

  • Carefully read the discussion instructions.
  • Think about how this post is related to what you are learning about in your course.
  • Note any required reading you need to complete.
  • Identify all the key terms in the assignment directions.
  • Underline or highlight all the action words in the assignment directions.
  • Note any additional requirements such as word count or citation formatting.
  • Review the grading rubric (if provided).

2. Read

  • Complete any required or supplemental reading for the week.
Tip: Your discussions are related to what you are learning and reading about in your course. So, even if it is not explicitly stated, you are expected to use concepts and ideas from your weekly reading in your discussion board post.

3. Write

  • Write a complete paragraph for each part of your discussion board post instructions. For example, if the discussion board prompt includes two bulleted items or two questions, you should write two fully developed paragraphs in your post.

4. Review

  • Does your post contain a fully-developed paragraph for each of the questions or action words in the discussion instructions?
  • Did you include concepts, ideas, or information from the course readings into your post wherever possible?
  • Did you correctly cite your sources in APA, MLA, or Chicago style as you used them?
  • Does your post meet word count requirements?
  • Did you review your writing for correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling?


Respond to peers' discussion posts to create deeper learning

Ask open-ended questions.

These might include questions you have about the topic or questions that might help your fellow student think about the topic in a new way or dig deeper into the topic. 

See examples of open-ended questions in the Writing Open-Ended Questions guide

Give additional information.

Share what you have discovered through your readings and research on the topic. 

State the relevance of the post.

Include what you've learned by reading their post and why you think it is useful information. 


Provide a peer review or peer feedback on a rough draft

In some instances, the discussion forum will be used to submit a rough draft of a paper and to provide peer reviews for fellow students. In this case, use our Giving Peer Feedback guide


View a Sample Discussion Post

Sample Discussion Post Icon
View an annotated sample for tips and tricks to writing an effective discussion forum post.

Related Video Tutorial

Discussion Board Posts