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Friday, May 23, 2014

How to Write a Winning Discussion Board

by Leslee Gensinger

You wouldn’t just step into a kitchen to make a meal without a strategy or plan for that meal. The same goes for the Discussion Board assignment. Planning and organization is the key to getting the recipe right. If you’d like to go from good to great with your Discussion Board assignments, follow these few simple steps:

Read the instructions--It’s easy to fall into a mindset that you “know how” to write a Discussion Board and that you don’t need to look at the grading rubric. However, each class can have small variations that could have big impact on your assignment and grade. Use the rubric as a checklist when writing your post to make sure elements are covered. This includes the basics like formatting, grammar and punctuation, deadlines, and length.

Follow the recipe--Each weekly module assignment will have specific items that you should address in the Discussion Board. These parameters help you keep your research and reading from being too broad. The parameters also provide key words and phrases to help you in your search for strong references. If you stick to these topics, you won’t be sidetracked by the mountains of available research.

Use quality ingredients--Did you know that “wiki” stands for “what I know is…?” Wikipedia, while a great read, can be moderated by anyone who has access to the website. This is why we discourage this, and anything like it, as a resource. Instead use the Liberty University online library and other scholarly search engines to find journal articles and research written by authors whose credentials can be verified. This will ensure that your post is made up of the highest quality research available.

Cook for the whole family--Remember, while your discussion board post is a graded assignment for your class, it is also the course interaction for online students. It is the point where we get to “hear” each other’s voice, understand one another’s perspective, and learn from our peers. Make your post such that others will want to read and respond. Using different writing styles to address your audience will bring the information and research to life!

Save the leftovers--If in your research you found articles or information that you could not fit into your assignment, be sure to save it for future posts. This allows you to cut down on time spent with future research and allows you to build on your knowledge, refer back to what you have learned, and create a foundation for future success.

Discussion Board posts are the main course in online learning. They can make or break the learning that you get out of the class. Make sure that you invest in them, use them to develop your writing, critical thinking and analytical skills, and get the most out of your program. If you take the time to really learn from them and your classmates, all the rest is icing on the cake.

 

Leslee Gensinger is the Director of Training and Quality Assurance for Liberty University Online. In addition to working for LUO for the past 9 years, she is also working on completing her MA in Management and Leadership online with LU. She has learned, the hard way sometimes, that good quality work is rarely done at the last minute. 

Posted at 11:36 AM | Comments (3) | Permalink

Saturday, May 17, 2014

British Isles Tour Day 4

Dublin and Glendalough

This will be another short and sweet one as we get ready to travel via ferry (more like a cruise ship rather than a ferry you traditionally think of) from Dublin and Wales, England.

The first through third pictures are of St. Patrick cathedral and a demonstration of how buttresses work with a few members of our group.  The fourth and fifth picture are of the beautiful and serene grounds at 10th century monastery, Glendalough.

    

   

 

Posted at 7:05 PM | Comments (1) | Permalink

Thursday, May 15, 2014

British Isles Tour Day 3

Blarney Castle       Book of Kells

Blarney Castle and Dublin

Day 3 was spectacular.  We spent a large portion of the day in the bus traveling, but we did stop for a couple hours in Blarney where we visited Blarney Castle (photo above) and, yes, I kissed the Blarney Stone.  :-)

From Blarney, we made our way to Dublin.  The road to Dublin was the only major highway we traveled on.  Most roads are small and narrow.  An interesting point, once you get to Dublin, is that there are few taxis.  While it's a big city, everything is confined to a small vicinity.

We visited the Book of Kells (photo above) at Trinity College.  The Book of Kells is the highly illustrated and symbolized copy of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).

Finally, we went to an Irish variety show where we all thoroughly enjoyed traditional Irish dancing (I.e. Riverdance-like), Irish songs sung (photo below) with mandolin, acoustic guitar, and bass, and a comedy show.  This was so much fun and one of our online students was given a demonstration of how to do an Irish jig--much to her horror as she was taken on stage to participate.  It was great...at least for us spectators.

Variety Show

Posted at 10:10 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

British Isles Tour Day 2

Thatch- Roofed HouseRing of Kerry

Killarney and the Ring of Kerry

Today was a fun-filled day.  We began at 8 am with a jaunting bus ride.  This is the Irish way of saying horse and carriage ride. We went through the town of Killarney and then ventured into Killarney park where we viewed a thatch-roofed house (picture above) and enjoyed beautiful scenery (picture below). Our jaunting bus was led by a local Irishman, Jonny, and his lovely horse, Thomas (picture below). Jonny entertained us thoroughly by singing us several Irish limericks, telling us lively stories, and generally making us laugh constantly. I could have spent all day on the jaunting bus, but I would have missed the rest of the beautiful sights.

Beautiful SceneryJohnny and his horse, Thomas

Other excursions included exploring 13th century Ross castle (picture below), Killarney lakes by boat, a bog museum, a sheep herder named Brendan and his border collies and even a four-horned sheep.  We also enjoyed a trip to the beautiful Ring of Kerry with breathtaking scenery.  To end the day, we took a surprise trip to the Torc Waterfall in the Killarney National Park.

Ross Castle

Dinner on day 2 was quite a different experience.  Yesterday, students were tired and a little reserved.  Today, the conversation was so lively that you had to listen carefully and talk loudly to be heard. It was wonderful to break bread and share stories with online students.

Well, wi-fi is spotty so better end here. Tomorrow we travel to the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone. Jim, our tour guide, said that we ALL will be kissing the stone and we Americans need to  get over our germophobia. He has that right!  :-) We will also be going to Dublin where we will stay for 2 days.

Till tomorrow!

Posted at 11:20 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

British Isles Tour Day 1

Arriving at Killarney

by Tamela Crickenberger
Executive Director of Enrollment

Fifty Liberty University students (the larger portion is composed of online students) left The States yesterday at 6:40 pm.  While the flight to London Heathrow was smooth and took less than 7 hours, it also meant a lot of red tape to get to our connecting flight to Shannon, Ireland.  There were at least 5 checkpoints and we went through 2 separate biometrics scans as well as a full TSA security check although we'd gone through that at Dulles.  Europeans take security very seriously!

Ireland is as beautiful as I'd always seen in pictures.  I believe this was everyone's first trip to Ireland and so far, it has not disappointed.  The people are so friendly and there are lots of mountains.  I wasn't expecting that. We are staying tonight and tomorrow night in Killarney, a quaint little city next too the Ring of Kerry, which we visit tomorrow along with many other exciting stops...including a visit to an Irish sheep herder!

One of the BEST things has been sharing this experience with 32 online students and some of their family members.  What a lovely group of people!  We have students from Yonkers, NY, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and as far away as Washington state.

Stay tuned for more tales and pictures about our trip to the British Isles.  For now, I'm signing out along with the rest of our exhausted travelers.

Posted at 10:58 AM | Comments (0) | Permalink