April 25, 2014
If you make heartfelt contributions to the discussion boards and ponder what others have posted, your eyes can be opened to things you haven’t yet experienced or thought about.
The BYU-Idaho Learning Model has three essential parts: Prepare, Teach One Another, and Ponder and Prove. PathwayConnect courses require students to contribute to a weekly discussion board to share insights with online classmates and to initiate meaningful conversations. In order to teach one another as the Learning Model emphasizes, your discussion board posts should describe your personal learning experiences and the different ways you acquire them.
PathwayConnect provides the unique opportunity to learn from individuals who are in different parts of the world and in different stages of life. If you make heartfelt contributions to the discussion boards and ponder what others have posted, your eyes can be opened to concepts you haven’t yet experienced or thought about.
When to Post:
Always make your initial post on time. Your opinions are important; you never know how what you will say could impact a classmate by changing their perspective or helping them to understand the material better. Posting to the discussion board as early in the week as possible ensures that your post will be seen by others and gives classmates ample time to comment and give feedback.
If you encourage questions, then you have more meat to your discussion.
How to Post:
The discussion boards give every student an equal opportunity to contribute to the learning experience. This provides you with the chance to develop the skills to interact with peers in an academic setting.
While you will have a prompt specifying the content that your post should contain, it’s sometimes difficult to decide how to put your insights down in writing. Sister Brandie Miguel, an instructor for the PathwayConnect Life Skills class, tells her students to pray about the lesson materials before posting to the discussion board. “As an instructor, I always go into my class prayerfully, so I would expect the same from my students,” she said.
Another tip Sister Miguel has for inspiring a more conversational discussion board is to pose a question in the initial post. “If you encourage questions, then you have more meat to your discussion,” she said. “I’ve noticed that when students do that, they get more interaction, which is one of our objectives. It pushes their frame of thinking.”
Sister Rebecca Jensen also teaches Life Skills and said she feels that some of the best discussions incorporate scriptural references or conference talks. “It’s great when students can bring their own experiences to a topic and share personal insights about their testimony of that gospel principle.”
How to Comment:
Even though you don’t talk to online classmates face-to-face, each comment you make should be thought-provoking and introduce some form of discussion — just as if you were in a classroom setting. Sister Miguel says, “If you were sitting in the classroom talking to another student, you wouldn’t just say, ‘Oh that’s a great thought,’ and then walk away. You would expound on what you liked about it.”
Some handy tips to keep in mind while commenting include explaining what you have in common, asking a question about something your classmate said, and responding sincerely.
Each comment you make should be thought-provoking and introduce some discussion.
When commenting on a classmate’s post, it’s good to consider whether your comments are good, better, or best. The best kind of comment would be as follows: “John, I really appreciate what you said about praying every morning that you’ll be able to manage your time wisely. I’ve noticed that when I do that, my day just seems to go smoother and I’m able to accomplish more. I see that you have three kids under the age of five. Do you study at home? How do you find a quiet place to do homework? I have two kids and I’m struggling with that; any advice would be welcome.” This comment not only specifies what you enjoyed about the post, but it also asks a question that will spark a discussion.
Posting meaningful content and making thoughtful comments on others’ posts can be a great opportunity for personal growth. Each person has something to contribute. Moving forward with prayer and reflection will guide us as we aspire to teach and learn from one another.