Discussion Boards are not only important, they are needed

Disclaimer: This article is satirical

What an insightful question, Professor Smith! I am confident that writing this 300-word response will not only augment my understanding of the material but connect me more closely to my classmates and further my education.

While I am sure that your original intent for this assignment was to get me to reflect contemplatively on this week’s textbook reading by crafting a meaningful analysis and offering a unique perspective on the material, I regret to inform you that you will not be receiving any of those things. Instead, I am writing this on the 71 bus at 11:51 p.m. because I’m on my way back from my broomball game, and I completely forgot that this was due tonight. However, my post will be professionally and enthusiastically worded in an attempt to hide this as well as the fact that I never even know the title of the textbook in the first place, let alone read the 200 pages assigned for this week.

I will eloquently ramble on for around 250 words about the significance of the topic of your question, using a whole lot of words to say not very much at all. Then, I will Google “Bible verses about wisdom” and throw a quotation in there to meet the word count and check off the rubric’s application of a biblical worldview requirement. Let’s work smarter, not harder.

After creating a masterpiece of fluff that includes the minimum of two scholarly sources cited in APA, I will quickly skim through my classmates’ posts and take note of who has mastered the art of discussion boarding and who very clearly has not. I will comment on the same two people’s posts that I comment on every week. Then I will choose one random point

that they discussed, celebrate their analysis of it and ask a very general yet thought-provoking question.

“Chad, I love how you mentioned that finances are an essential part of a business! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I think that is something that easily gets overlooked and forgotten about in the industry. What do you think would happen if every business paid more attention to its finances? Thanks for a great post!”

My following comment will be almost identical to my first comment, only with slightly different wording and maybe even a reordering of phrases. Regardless, you can always expect that I will affirm the classmate’s insight and thank them for allowing me the honor of reading their post. I also will mention their name a minimum of three times — every word counts.

After doing all of this in precisely nine and a half minutes, submitting the last comment just before the clock strikes midnight, I will close out of the discussion thread and never open it again. I will not see or read any comments on my post, much less respond back to them, and I will receive an A on the assignment, both encouraging the continuation of my bare-minimum effort as well as proving that is all that a discussion board requires of me.

This, Professor Smith, is why I roll my eyes at a syllabus that grants 200 points to weekly discussion boards. I will complete the assignment and I will get the points, but all it does is create an annoyance for me and more work for you to grade. I have never turned in a discussion board of any actual substance, nor have I read a post from a classmate that I felt came from a genuine desire to exchange perspectives and opinions on the textbook material.

Again, I understand the original intent of discussion boards, and I applaud the desire to cultivate a collaborative, intellectual community among students. However, discussion boards

are not something that students take seriously or desire to contribute to, which makes that goal virtually unachievable. Expecting productive, meaningful content from students while rewarding the bare minimum on a platform conducive to procrastination and insincere rhetoric is naïve and counterintuitive.

Yes, students are responsible for taking ownership of their own education, and professors are responsible for creating worthwhile learning opportunities, of which discussion boards are not.

Overall, I enjoyed reading your question, Professor Smith! I look forward to seeing the grade I’ll get on this assignment. Thank you for a terrific post!

God bless, Leah Ginion.

Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

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