Discussion Board (DB)

The Discussion Board (DB) is part of the core of online learning. Classroom discussion in an online environment requires the active participation of students and the instructor to create robust interaction and dialogue. Every student is expected to create an original response to the open-ended DB question as well as engage in dialogue by responding to posts created by others throughout the week. At the end of each unit, DB participation will be assessed based on both level of engagement and the quality of the contribution to the discussion.

At a minimum, each student will be expected to post an original and thoughtful response to the DB question and contribute to the weekly dialogue by responding to at least two other posts from students. The first contribution must be posted before midnight (Central Time) on Wednesday of each week. Two additional responses are required after Wednesday of each week. Students are highly encouraged to engage on the Discussion Board early and often, as that is the primary way the university tracks class attendance and participation.

The purpose of the Discussion Board is to allow students to learn through sharing ideas and experiences as they relate to course content and the DB question. Because it is not possible to engage in two-way dialogue after a conversation has ended, no posts to the DB will be accepted after the end of each unit.

Assignment Details

Based on your work in Units 1 and 2, create a detailed sentence outline for your research paper.

Your outline should include the following:

  • Thesis statement: Because you are writing an argument or persuasive paper, your thesis must state a clear stance on the topic that you have selected. The thesis should be written in the third person and not be more than one sentence long. This thesis does not have to be the same as your thesis in the Unit 1 Individual Project. Your new thesis will most likely reflect the research and reflection that you have done since then. You may have even changed your initial stance.
  • Main points or claims: You should include at least 3 main points or claims to support your thesis. These main points should be complete sentences that are phrased entirely in your own words. The main points represent a synthesis of your research on the topic: source readings, discussion with others, and personal reflection combined to produce your thesis. These are not necessarily the same main points that you used in your Unit 1 IP. Because you have researched this topic, you may have gained additional insights, evidence, and arguments that will be reflected in this new thesis and main points.
  • Notations of source usage: Beneath each main point, you should indicate how information from sources may be used to support each point. Because you have not yet written the paper, you do not know for sure how you will use the information from your sources. You are still in the planning stage; however, at this stage, you should be able to indicate with some accuracy how source material will help you develop your main points. Be sure to provide in-text citations.
  • APA reference list: Provide an alphabetized list of the sources that you plan to use to support your main points. These do not have to be the same sources that you listed in the Unit 2 IP. Each of the sources should be listed as a reference citation in correct APA style. This list should have the word “References” in boldface at the top.

Click here for an example of notations of source usage and of the APA reference list.

Peer Responses

Review the reference citations of at least 2 classmates, and focus on the following:

  • Are the references correct or incorrect?
  • Suggest an APA resource that you believe would produce the most correct citation for this type of source: AIU’s APA style guide, the APA section for your class eBook, or a citation machine.

Please refer to the following multimedia course material(s):

  • Unit 3: Citation and Research Techniques
  • Unit 3: Critical Thinking
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