Online Discussion Protocol


To be successful and productive with your online discussions, we recommend that you follow the guidelines below:

  • Postings should be evenly distributed during the discussion week.
  • Postings should be a minimum of three sentences, or one short paragraph, and a maximum of two paragraphs.
  • Responses should be well written with proper punctuation, spelling and grammar.
  • Avoid short one-word postings, for instance, “ I agree”, unless accompanied by supporting statements from the readings or prior knowledge (work and life experience).
  • Stay focused on the topic.
  • Ask questions; challenge other postings that lack supporting evidence or present incorrect information.
  • Encourage further discussion, by building on current threads.
  • Check your postings for responses from others and respond in kind.
  • Use proper “netiquette”.
    • Think of your comments as printed in the newspaper…your online comments will be seen, heard and remembered by others in the class. Before you make an emotional, outrageous or sarcastic remark online, think about whether you would care if it was seen in your local newspaper.
    • Don’t be overcome by your emotions. Take a few breaths and step away from your computer if need be.
    • Sign your real name. It is easier to build a classroom community when you know to whom you are responding.
    • Avoid self-centered comments. If you have a great idea, great. If you want to contribute to an ongoing discussion, terrific. But, don’t just tell others about your problems (“I’m frustrated”, “My audio doesn’t work today”) unless it contributes in some way to the class.
    • Avoid negativity. You can disagree. You can challenge ideas and the course content, but avoid becoming negative online. It will impact you negatively, hinder the class discussion, and may give the wrong impression of you to others.
    • There is no need to be aggressive online. No flaming, all caps, or !!!!, or ????
    • Be polite, understate rather than overstate your point, and use positive language. Using bold, frank, overstated language conveys an emotional aggressiveness that hinders your message.
    • Disagree politely. When you disagree politely, you stimulate and encourage great discussion. You also maintain positive relationships with others with whom you may disagree on a certain point.
    • Don’t disrupt. Online dialogue is like conversation. If there is a dialogue or train of thought going on, join in, add to it, but, if you have something entirely different to bring up, wait or post it in another thread.
    • Don’t use acronyms than not everyone would understand and know.


Below is an example of an online discussion rubric and may give you an idea of how your online discussions will be evaluated. You’ll need to consult the syllabus for each online course for its specific online discussion rubric.

Excellent (13-15 points)

  • Postings: 5 postings, well distributed throughout the week
  • Description of Contribution:
    • Use of Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation
    • Critical and/or creative contribution
    • Very clear that readings were understood and incorporated well into responses
    • Asks questions that extend the discussion and makes insightful, critical comments
    • Contributes new information and identifies the source

Good (10-12 points)

  • Postings: 4 postings, well distributed throughout the week
  • Description of Contribution
    • Use of Comprehension and Application
    • Readings were understood and incorporated into responses
    • Exhibits good insights and understanding of discussion question
    • Relates the issue to prior material covered in the course

Average (6-9 points)

  • Postings: 3 postings, well distributed throughout the week
  • Description of Contribution:
    • Use of Knowledge
    • Postings are not on tract with readings
    • Repeats basic correct information related to discussion

Below Average (5 or less)

  • Postings: 2 or less postings throughout the week
  • Description of Contribution:
    • Seemingly, no evidence that readings were understood or incorporated into the discussion
    • Didn’t do the readings

Poor (0 points)

  • Postings: No postings throughout the week
  • Description of Contribution:
    • No participation


All six modules must be taken in order to earn the Chancellor’s Certificate in International Trade. The cost is $1,800. Each module also can be taken individually for $350 per module. Cancellation & Refund Policy


Scholarships up to $1000 per person now available for the Chancellor’s Certificate in International Trade (CCIT). This funding is generously provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Please contact Stella Sheehan or call (314) 615-8141 for further information, including eligibility requirements.