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Examples of Good Discussion Questions

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Recommendations and tips for writing good discussion questions, including examples.

Discussion Question Examples


Online discussions are vital toward reaching learning objectives.  Think about ways to link the discussions and activities to specific outcomes so students “see” the connections.

 In face-to-face courses, discussions are spontaneous; in online keep students alert, get a few outgoing students involved if naturally progresses or instructor motivates responses through questioning, prompting, additional resources, personal examples, current event that applies.

Planned ahead and constructed, as are the responses

Motivation for studying the materials – peers will be reading the responses

Use discussion rather than reiteration

Discussions often have two or three parts; make sure this is clear to the students.

Expectations for Course Discussions:

Students are required to respond to at least two other student postings.  Be substantive and follow up on your comments with why you think.

Do you agree or disagree and why.  Do you have questions based on the postings? Use references from podcasts, readings and activities that support your position.  Be sure to properly cite your references.


Example 1: Promote Discussion


This type of discussion is used to create background information that the students can use in the course. Copyright, plagiarism, peer review, and other specific topics are great for first week discussion postings as the information is used through the rest of the course.

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication.


Example 2: Reading Assignments


  • Using the information from chapters 7 & 8 on emotional intelligence, give your own example that illustrates at least three of the author’s main concepts. You may use a personal experience or you may create an example.


Example 3: Library Usage (electronic or for hybrid physical is also an option)


  • Part 1: Use the Polk Library Links to find an article about group dynamics that relates to today’s society.
    Part 2: Give an overview of the article and discuss why this is relevant to your social or work life, using concepts from the article and the course readings.
    Part 3: Be sure you cite the article and provide the DOI or link.
    Important note! Do not use an article that a co-learner has already posted.  Please contact the librarian if you are having difficulty, they are here to help!

Example 4: Sources


  • Read the article attached to this discussion.
    Part 1: Write your critical evaluation of the article and explain your points using examples from the article.
    Part 2: Find two sources that support your evaluation of the article and give a brief summary of both.
    Explain why you believe these sources are credible and they would, or would not, be valuable to this author.

Example 5:  Project Development



  • After listening to the podcast for this week’s assignments choose two of the main points and discuss how you can apply them to your final project.

    Use the first paragraph of your response to summarize your final topic so your readers can make the connection to your choices from the podcast.

Example 6: Creative


  • Review the photograph in Posting 7.  Create a response with your interpretation of what this represents. What visual queues did you use to create your response? 

Example 8: Group Participation



  • You are hosting an important event on campus, the RSVP’s are in and there will be 100 guests (not fellow students) attending.  You forgot to ask for help and the event is only 4 days away; it is now up to your group members to make this a successful event.  Over the next week your group needs to identify tasks, set priorities and come up with a plan to make this happen.
    • You cannot ask any other people to help
    • You have a budget of 400.00
    • You must post your plan and your reasoning behind the decisions and why your plan will make the event a success. Go!


Example 9:  Student Collaboration


  • Part 1: Post the topic idea that you have formed for your final project using the template attached to this posting.

    Part 2: Once you have posted your project template, find another student’s project posting and read their proposal.  

    Part 3: Develop two potential research questions that they may want to consider in the course of their project development.  Make sure these questions require thoughtful responses rather than just looking up an answer or yes/no questions.

    *Choose a classmate who does not already have multiple responses so that everyone receives a peer response


Example 10:  Peer review



  • Part 1. Post your rough draft for your final paper as an attachment in Discussion 12.

    Part 2. After you have posted your draft, choose another student’s draft to review.  Open their attachment and save it to your desktop; review and add comments to your downloaded copy and attach your edited copy as an attachment to your reply to this student.

    *Comments to consider:  Clarity, topic sentences, introduction and conclusion support the paper, grammar and punctuation, references, are points clear, does it flow in an organized format, are the required components included.  Feel free to ask questions, ask for clarification, suggest literature review ideas, and respectfully identify items that could improve the paper.





Kearsley, G. & Blomeyer, B. (2003). Preparing teachers to teach online. NCREL; Retrieved from


Smith, R.( 2008). Conquering the content: a step b-by-step guide to online course design (1st ed). San Francisco:Jessey-Bass









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