Writing Prompt: “Question, Comment, and Connection Discussion Posts”

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Assignment Title: Question, Comment, and Connection Discussion Posts

Author: Olivia Imirie, Salisbury University (onimirie@salisbury.edu)

Date published: August, 2022

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Class Info/Tags: First-Year Composition, Fact-to-Face, Hybrid, Synchronous, Composition Studies

Course Motivation: The goal of this course is to expand students’ view of how writing works, and their understanding of their own beliefs and practices as a writer.

Context of Use: Students complete a discussion post for any assigned reading prior to coming to class. The purpose of these discussion posts is for students to informally engage with the reading and come to class prepared to contribute to class discussions.

Instructor Reflection: Discussion posts are a helpful informal way for students to engage with a reading before coming to class. However, I find that by allowing students to choose what they found most exciting, confusing, or interesting about the texts, they are more likely to participate in class discussion. By asking a question, students consider the application of a new concept or have freedom to explain where they are confused, creating discussion starters to pose to their instructor and classmates. Students also make comments based on the content of the reading to explain where they agreed or disagreed with the author; students also use comments to explain what was most interesting to them in an assigned reading. By creating connections to their own experiences or other assigned readings, students begin to analyze the arguments of these readings and relate concepts to their own experiences or arguments in other readings. One challenge I have found is that students may use comments to explain their reading experience (i.e., whether the article was easy to read or not) rather than the content of the reading. In order to circumvent this challenge, I provide students with example questions, comments, and connections which we go over in class before they complete their first discussion posts. These examples show students my expectations for a satisfactory discussion post.

About Author

Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English & Education at the University of Michigan, where she also teaches in the English Department Writing Program. Her research interests include digital rhetoric, gender and discourse, and gaming studies. Her dissertation project explores how women use multimodal discourse—grammatically, narratively, and visually—to navigate online gaming ecologies.

Jennifer Burke Reifman

Jennifer Burke Reifman is a 5th year Education Ph.D. Candidate at U.C. Davis with an emphasis in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. Her research focuses on technology in the writing classroom, writing program administration, and student identity and agency. When she isn't being a graduate student and writing teacher, she spends most of her time playing with her 3-year old son, tending her backyard garden, or diving into a video game.