Step 1: Read the discussion forum question: Read the discussion forum topic. Keep this in mind as you do the week’s readings and be thinking about how you might want to respond.
Step 2: Do the required readings: Do the required readings for the week before you do your initial post. Take notes. Highlight your text on things that are interesting to you. Take notes in a word doc on things that you might want to comment on in your post to the discussion forum.
Step 3: Make your initial post: Write a thoughtful response to this week’s question. Often I write my initial posts in Microsoft Word first. Then I re-read it check for spelling/grammar etc. and then cut and paste into the discussion forum. Make your initial post early in the week, so others will have a chance to respond to it. Also write a good subject line that will grab people’s attention. You are more likely to get people to read and respond to your post this way.
Step 4: Respond to colleagues: Later in the week revisit the forum and respond to at least two other colleagues. Often I skim all of the posts to the discussion forum and decide on which ones I might have something to contribute. Add a resource, a thought provoking question, or share an experience that moves the conversation forward and deepens the learning for the group.