Weekly Discussions – Substantive Question & Answer


The discussions are in many ways the heart of this course – they are your opportunity to engage with and learn from your colleagues. To facilitate this process, we are using a “Substantive Question & Answer” approach. The word Substantive comes from the root word Substance – getting to the core or important aspect of the subject being discussed. Substantive questions relate to the content, and help others achieve the learning outcomes of the module. Substantive answers/responses to your colleagues’ contributions help others learn, build upon what others have said and may challenge others to think about a subject more deeply or in a different way.

Please note that text communications are quite delicate at times – we do not have the normal facial and body expression and cues that demonstrate our mood or tone. In addition, the learners in this course come from diverse backgrounds and contexts. Please remember this and be respectful of your fellow classmates in all your communications.

The informal, but well-accepted set of guidelines for communications online are called “Netiquette” – Network Etiquette. Please take a few moments to review Communicating Online: Netiquette (Links to an external site).

The logistics:

To prepare for a discussion you are expected to have reviewed the “Content 1” component of the module by the time the you post your original contribution. The structure of the discussion is as follows:

  • The discussion will open for your contribution on Thursday morning, 9 AM (Pacific).
  • The instructor will add an introductory message, and outline expectations.
  • You are expected to add an original post of approximately 150 words by Thursday, 11:59 PM. Typically you are asked to comment on a specific aspect of the module and to develop a question related to the module content that your colleagues will answer.
  • At a minimum, you will be expected to reply substantively to at least on other class member’s original posts, and respond to any questions asked of you.
  • The Discussion will close on the Saturday evening, 11:59 PM.Pacific.


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Food & Water Security Copyright © by Dr. Joanne Taylor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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