Discussion Post Writing Guide: Weeks 4-6
1. Read the discussion instructions carefully, highlighting the keywords.
• Purpose: What question or required reading are you being asked to respond to?
• Particulars: What is the word limit? When is the due date and time?
• Response type: Are you being asked to reflect on personal experience, determine a
solution to a problem, compare two ideas, or make an argument?
• Expectations: How will your discussion post be assessed? Consult the Discussion Rubric
and the Academic Writing Expectations Level 2000/3000 or Weeks 4-6.
• Access instructor feedback on your previous assignments. Don’t know how? See the
Check Grades Tutorial in the Walden eGuide. Based on that feedback, how do you want
to improve in this next post?
• Read the week’s learning resources with a critical eye.
• Jot down your initial reactions, ideas, and responses to the discussion question.
• From those notes, determine a couple strong ideas that show your unique perspective.
These ideas will focus your post.
• Sketch a rough outline to make your post logical and clear.
• When needed, research your topic in the Walden Library. See Week 3 for tips on
3. Construct a draft in Microsoft Word.
• Include a purpose / thesis statement at the start of your post to bring all ideas together and
convey your overall perspective.
o For instance: The three most important characteristics of an effective nurse leader
are compassion, nursing knowledge, and communication skills. From the thesis
statement, the reader knows that will be about these three characteristics
and why they are so important.
• Develop the points of your outline into paragraphs. Each paragraph should include a main
idea, evidence, analysis, and a lead-out. Altogether, these components are referred to as
the MEAL Plan.
• Integrate information from the learning resources or other library research you have done.
• Practice citing those sources in APA style.
• Type in sentence case and in a formal academic tone, avoiding slang or casual phrasing.
• Save the draft in Microsoft Word.
4. Review and revise. Ask yourself:
• Have I adequately addressed the discussion question and length requirements?
• Does my discussion post demonstrate that I have thought critically about the learning
resources and/or my experiences?
• Have I proposed a unique perspective that will lead to fruitful discussion?
• Have I met the Academic Writing Expectations?
Fully developed paragraphs that follow the MEAL Plan
A purpose / thesis statement that sets up a logical flow
Evidence from the learning resources or library research
Attempted citations for the sources used
• Proofread for spelling and grammar. Tip: One of the best ways to catch mistakes is to
read your draft out loud!
• Copy and paste the final version of your Microsoft Word draft into the discussion forum.
• Submit. Yay! You’ve done it!
• Wait patiently for responses from your classmates.
6. Respond to others.
• Read postings by your classmates with an open mind; think critically about which posts
are the most interesting to you.
• When responding, use the student’s name and describe the point so that your whole class
can follow along. Example: Jessica, you make an interesting point about technology
increasing without adequate training.
• Whether you are asserting agreement or disagreement, provide reasoning for your views.
• Avoid using unsupported personal opinions, generalizations, or language that others
might find offensive.
• When in disagreement, keep responses respectful and academic in tone.
• Ask open-ended questions, rather than questions that can be answered with yes or no.
Those types of answers end the conversation, rather than leading to more discussion.
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