When considering online learning activities, we all accept that discussion forums would be one of the key areas in developing interactivity as well as collaborative learning. But the ability for a discussion forum to develop collaborative learning would not come intrinsically, but would depend on the students ability to contribute effectively to these forums. Thus, this article hopes to assimilate how students can contribute better to an online discussion forum in order to promote interactivity as well as a high level of collaborative learning.
As students, the discussion forums should be considered a great place to learn. It can be a place to gather the knowledge given by the others as well as to sharpen the existing knowledge in you based on the new facts that would be on display. At the same time, your contribution would also matter as others should also have the same advantage. But, it is not just the posting that counts in an online learning system but a posting with a reflection on how the facts should be used, the areas needing further learning, queries as well as analysis of what is taking place on the forum. Although each post do not have to contain all these elements, it is vital that at least one post addresses these issues and provides you as well as the other students in the forum to recap what was done at least in several instances.
When contributing to an online forum, you should display several qualities. These will include, scholarliness, encouragement given to others, being truthful as well as being reliable. If you make a post with copied content from another site or from another student, you will fall into the category of plagiarism which would be considered an offence by almost all institutions and be severely dealt with. Thus, making sure that the postings that you make contains your own ideas and writings as well as giving suitable credit to the original authors if in case the content has been extracted from somewhere else is mandatory for better contribution as well as to avoid committing an offence.
Apart from these academic considerations, as an online student, you should login to these forums daily and has to read through as well as comment appropriately for others contributions. Such frequent interaction would not only encourage others to contribute more but it will enhance the learning that you gain from the online environment.
At the same time, you should also give consideration to the spelling and the grammar in your postings. It is vital that you do not make such errors as it can badly reflect on you as well as make the other online students and tutors to be less interested in reading or commenting on your postings as well. Therefore, double checking before posting would be a good idea when participating in an online discussion forum.
Lastly, being specific in what you post as well as avoiding unnecessary content will also of use to improve the quality of a forum and to make you a better contributor in these online forums.