ere are two parts of this course that give your instructor an opportunity to know you personally: general communication through messages, and discussion board. Discussion board is a formal way for your instructor to learn about your writing skills and your ability to synthesize, analyze and evaluate information (AKA ‘critical thinking’). More importantly, it is your opportunity to learn how to improve these skills.
Scientists communicate with each other and with the general public in writing. Just as in other fields of study, the ability to write clearly and concisely is essential to being successful as a scientist. At the college level, it is unacceptable to write in incomplete sentences, use incorrect grammar or sentence structure, to misspell words, or fail to correctly punctuate your sentences. If you have difficulty with writing, there are resources that you need to use before you submit your discussion board answer for grading. Here are some possibilities:
- Purchase a book that you can reference when you are writing to check your grammar. Strunk and White is a good one, but there are many available.
- Grammarly (free website) could also be helpful.
- Purchase or use an on-line dictionary .
- Purchase or use an on-line thesaurus.
- Pair up with another student and read and edit each other’s posts before you submit them to the formal discussion forum.
- Type your work in a word processing program and then copy and paste into the discussion board. You can then use the features of the word processor to catch most spelling and grammar mistakes. Remember, these will NOT help with word usage errors (there, their, they’re–for example).
- Be particularly careful about the use of apostrophes (its and it’s are NOT the same words). I am amazed at the number of times I see incorrect use of apostrophes.
- CTC Research Assistance Paper Review Service at http://www.ctcd.edu/academics/library/research-assistance-paper-review-service/.
If there are too many grammatical errors in a post, you will receive a ZERO for the post. A specific number of errors is not given, because the situation is different if you write 100 words and have 5 grammatical errors or if you write 500 words and have 5 grammatical errors. Also, there are degrees of error. For example, the words affect and effect can be very difficult to use correctly, while avoiding sentence fragments and basic spelling errors should be very easy.
Another hazard of discussions is that students often simply repeat what has already been posted. The material posted must be original– not repetitious of posts of other students. Students should also find their own sources. Do not wait until others post and then just go to the sites they found.
Finally, it is critical to correctly cite sources. Here are some examples of how you may cite in the discussions:
- In a study by Smith (1991) on the species……determined that the species was self- incompatible.
- The species …. is self-incompatible (Smith, 1991)….
- In a study by Smith (1) on the species…..
- The species is self-incompatible (1)…..
At the bottom of the post, you will then write:
1. Smith, S., 1991. Pollination ecology …….[you give the full title]. American Journal of Botany 22(3). [you give the full source either in APA or MLA format] If you got the information from a web site, you would put the web site here. Again, this citation may either follow MLA or APA
Following is the grading scale for discussion questions:
Initial PostPossible PointsPoints EarnedPost has correct grammar and punctuation.3 Post addresses the topic in an original way.2 Post demonstrates integration of information and personal relevance of the topic.2 References are correctly formatted.1 Reply is at least 100 words, not including niceties like “You did a great job on this post. Way to go”. The reply will also show critical thought about the post and/or the topic.2 Extra credit may be earned for particularly well developed and well synthesized, analyzed and evaluated material.Up to 10 points EC You will earn a zero if you do not cite sources in the text of the post, you do not cite complete sources at the end of the post or you have an excessive number of grammatical/spelling/punctuation errors.= 0 for the whole post
Develop a response to this question. Ensure you have answered all parts of the question completely. Complete this assignment using complete sentences in a paragraph format, and be sure to check your spelling when complete.
Read Discussion Board Directions located on the course menu on the left side of the screen before you begin to post or reply.
Choose a Review from the reviewed articles from Health News Review, published by Gary Schwetzer.
Immediately post the name of the article on the discussion board. Once you have done this, you are the only one who may review that article.
DO NOT choose an article someone else has already “claimed”.
- Examine the credentials of the people who reviewed your article. Give a brief summary of their education level and credibility. Do not simply copy all of the credentials. Choose the ones that suggest the person has (or does not have) the credentials to review this particular article. Do not just state the credentials. Judge the credentials.
- Read the article being reviewed. You will find the article just above the review. Do not just take your information from what the reviewers said about the article. When you summarize the article, you must include the key points the article made so that other students may see the good and bad points of the article. As you read it, jot down some notes for yourself about what you see that makes the article credible or not.
- Read the review.
- Write a summary of the article and the key points the reviewers made about the article. Do not confound the credibility of the article with the credibility of the researchers. Remember, the article you read is a summary produced by a journalist. You did not read the original scientific article.
Before you submit your post, use the grading rubric to be sure you have actually met all of the requirements of posts in general, as well as this post specifically.