EPD - eHelp - Best Practices - Communication
EPD supports several options for meeting and communicating, including messaging, email, and web/audio conferencing. There are also many other technologies available for real-time communication such as Google Hangouts, Skype, instant messenger, etc., that can be used for student group communication.
- Read what others have posted before making contributions, check if anyone has asked it already and received a reply. Just as you wouldn’t repeat a topic of discussion right after it happened in real life, don’t do that in discussion boards either. Searching the forum first can help with this.
- On a similar note, before asking a question, check the class FAQ, syllabus, etc., or search the internet to see if the answer is obvious or easy to find.
- Keep messages brief - usually no more than 1-3 paragraphs. If you write a long dissertation in response to a simple question, it’s unlikely that anyone will spend the time to read through it all.
- For longer posts, it is a best practice to write your discussion post in a text editor such as notepad, and then copy-paste the message into the course site discussion forum. This can safeguard from accidentally losing your entire post if the website should timeout or become unresponsive.
- Help keep discussion forums organized in their respective forums and threads. Make sure you understand when to reply to an existing discussion thread, and when to start a new thread for a new topic or question.
- Be professional, courteous, and respectful of others' thoughts and time.
- Do not be afraid to politely disagree with someone or state a different opinion - that is what discussion is supposed to be about, but be professional and respectful.
- Focus on quality, not quantity, with messages that are motivating to read, a good use of time, and constructive pathways to learning.
- Use the notification or subscription tracking features to help manage time and attention.
- Stay on topic for the particular discussion forum. Don’t post irrelevant links, comments, thoughts, or pictures except in the appropriate forum.
- Don’t type in ALL CAPS! If you do, it will look like you’re screaming.
- Don’t write anything that sounds angry or sarcastic, even as a joke, because without hearing your tone of voice, your peers might not realize you’re joking.
- Be forgiving. If your classmate makes a mistake, don’t badger him or her for it. Just let it go – it happens to the best of us.
- Jump in and help answer questions from classmates. If you do reply to a question from a classmate, make sure your answer is accurate! If you’re not 100% sure when the paper is due, DO NOT GUESS! Otherwise, it can just create confusion.
- If you ask a question and many people respond, sometimes a summary post of all answers is a benefit to the whole class.
- Run a spelling and grammar check before posting anything to the discussion board. It only takes a minute, and can make the difference between sounding unprofessional and sounding knowledgeable.
Learn@UW-D2l Email and Instant Messaging
From the classlist in a Learn@UW course you can send email or instant messages to classmates. For more information see:
Learn@UW Instant Messaging
Email Students Using the Classlist Tool