Four Ways to Make Your Forum Posts More Noteworthy

Author: Susan Hoffman
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By Susan Hoffman
Contributor, Online Learning Tips

In an online class, you are regularly required to participate in discussion forums. Typically, your instructor will post a forum topic to be discussed; you’re required to provide a substantial answer of at least 250 words by a predetermined deadline. In addition, you must comment on two other students’ posts, using at least 150 words for each post.

Although these forum posts may seem like a chore to write week after week, they provide you with an easy opportunity to demonstrate to your instructor that you’ve read the assigned material and done your research. Forum posts are also a chance to help your fellow students by offering them new and useful information relevant to the topic under discussion.

However, writing a forum post doesn’t have to be tedious. While you need to pay careful attention to the grading rubric provided in the class, there are four ways to make your forum posts more interesting to write and for others to read.

#1: Add a Fun — and Relevant — Fact to Your Forum Posts

When I write a forum post for an online class, I like to add in some type of fun, interesting fact that is relevant to the topic under discussion. In a class forum discussion on social media, for example, I noted the usefulness of adding images to social media posts, stating the memorable fact that after three days, people recall 65% of visual content as compared to 10% of written content.

#2: Tell a Memorable Story

Each person in a class has unique life experiences, specialized knowledge and career expertise. This information is helpful for everyone in the class when it’s relayed in a forum post.

For instance, I’ve posted concise, sometimes humorous stories from my business experience and found a way to relate each story to the topic under discussion. Other students have also offered stories from their experiences, making it easier to reply to their forum posts and add to the information they provide.

#3: Consider Taking the Opposite Point of View

If you have a particular view on a forum topic, you can write about it from that perspective, which may be different from what your classmates and instructor expect to see. Bear in mind that your instructor will be checking not only for the mechanics of your writing such as spelling and grammar, but will also check to see how well you defend your point of view and if you have cited your references properly.

Bjorn Mercer, Program Director for the Communication, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion and World Languages Programs at APU’s School of Arts and Humanities, says, “One of the ways I make forum posts noteworthy is by including quality quotes from well-known websites such as Forbes, Business Insider or Harvard Business Review. By showing how to properly use an expert’s opinion to support your own assertion, you can add depth to the forum post while also demonstrating proper citation formatting.”

#4: End a Forum Post with a Question

Sometimes, it is challenging to come up with a post that is long enough to meet the class requirements. When that happens, I might add a relevant story in the forum post to illustrate the point I’m making.

Another option is to end the post with a question that other students or the instructor would be able to answer. I’m careful to explain the reasons behind asking the question and I make sure that it’s not a question that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

Forum Posts Are a Useful Learning Experience for Everyone

Forum discussions are intended to be a learning experience for all students in an online class and are a vital part of your final grade. When you regularly participate in forums, they are a great way to add to your current expertise and gain a better knowledge of useful industry resources.

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Four Ways to Make Your Forum Posts More Noteworthy
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