Types of Online Activities
Throughout the course of a semester, your instructor may create a series of different types of activities that will require you to complete and submit required work in different mediums, using several different UNM Canvas tools. On the next few pages, we will review some of the most common tools that you may encounter in your online courses so that you are prepared. We will also post helpful tips that may help you more successfully complete said activities!

Discussions - What are they?
Some courses may use Canvas Discussion tool. Discussions can be threaded or “focused,” graded or ungraded, and assigned to the whole class or to small group. Discussions allow for students to post individual thoughts and replies on a given subject for all classmates to see in order to help facilitate communication about and understanding of a given topic. Discussions can also be used as a platform for Peer Review activities.

Depending on the way your instructor sets up the course, there may be a link to the Discussion board in the course menu, or there may just be specific links inside modules. Discussions are designed so that students and instructors can post to initiate new lines of thinking, or reply to posts as a way to comment and keep the conversation organized.

Note: Individual discussions can be set so that you must create an initial post before you can see anything posted by your classmates, so be sure to follow instructions provided by your instructor to successfully complete the activity.

Transcript for Student Discussion Overview

pro-tip-icon.pngPRO TIPS: Successful participation in Online Discussions

Discussion topics are often used to generate ideas; build a sense of community; summarize main points in a text or reading; assess and confirm levels of skill and understanding; reexamine ideas presented in previous weeks; compare and contrast theories, issues, and interpretations; and brainstorm and reflect on applications of theory to life.

In order for discussions to work, everyone in the class need to contribute. If an instructor gives you access to a discussion topic with a week to submit a post and comment on at least two other classmates' posts, for example, and everyone in the class waits until 5 minutes before the deadline to post and comment, this does not allow sufficient any time consider things and learn something. The sooner you post, the better!

Please keep in mind that your fellow students will want to see more than a simple response of "good job" or "me too". Rather, they will want you to add additional thoughts or arguments. For example,"I agree with your post because..." or "That is an interesting point, but have you thought about...". Therefore, you are not only providing a simple response in agreement or disagreement, but you are also adding information to help the discussion continue or to bring to light new arguments for everyone to learn.