EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

How to Participate in an Effective Discussion in EME 810


Expectations for Discussions

Course participation is as important for learning in this class as the lesson content itself. You all come from diverse backgrounds and have much to offer your classmates in terms of perspective and feedback. Therefore, all of the lessons have at least one discussion built in. In total, these discussions make up a full 15% of your grade.

The primary venue for your participation in this course will be the Canvas discussion forums. Each discussion assignment will provide you with a prompt you must address, preferably as a unique initial post in the comment area. In addition to posting your own initial thoughts and findings about that question, you will also have to engage your classmates in a back and forth dialogue on their posts as well. Participation is really meant to be a discussion, not just a one-off posting.


You are to make timely contributions to our discussions so that others can read, reflect, and respond. Please see the Canvas calendar for specific due dates for each discussion. The due date for a discussion is when initial postings will be shared with the class. Typically it is set for the middle of the lesson week, so that there is ample time for responding and commenting before the lesson ends. The comments will go both ways: (1) you will comment on other students' posts you find interesting and (2) you will reply to the comments and questions that other students leave on your post. Do not leave them hanging. Feel free to continue those discussions beyond the confines of each lesson - if you've got a good discussion going, run with it! Also, this is one component of the class with which I really encourage you not to procrastinate. The quality of our dialogues will be much richer if it's not just a mad dash on the last night of the lesson to carelessly fill a quota. You're being graded on quality AND quantity, so plan accordingly.


Make sure your comments are thoughtful, analyzing the content or questions at hand, and exploring the impacts of an offered perspective. You are responsible for extending discussions already taking place, and posing new possibilities or opinions not previously voiced. When you are able, try to make connections to other content that you may have found in the literature or on the web, expand our collective thinking space, and (even better) try to make connections with your real-life experiences or situations near where you live.


All students are expected to participate in the group discussions in a concise, well-organized, and scholarly manner. For example, saying, “I agree with Jennifer” is not enough. You need to say why you agree (or disagree) and support your comments. Comments should be based upon information obtained from appropriate reference sources including lesson materials, previous coursework, Web-based information, or personal experience. You must use proper grammar and spelling for all contributions. And of course be polite and respectful in your communications even if you disagree with the author.

In summary

if you want full credit each lesson, you need to post a coherent, thoughtful entry, and you need to contribute substantive replies to at least 3 of your classmates' entries as well as responding to questions posed to you by other students. Various combinations of doing some of this work or doing it at subpar quality will result in partial points awarded.

Discussion Rubric (10 pts.)

The following rubric will be used for all graded discussions.

Criteria No credit
0 Points
Partial credit
1 Point
Full credit
2 Points
Timing No posting Initial post and responses are past due and late to the party. Initial post is submitted on time, and follow-ups are posted daily during the lesson week.
Initial Post Content Post is completely off topic or has plagiarized content with no personal contribution. Post is factually sound, but some promts are not fully addressed. Post may repeat, but does not add substantial information to the discussion. Post is an original and thoughtful writing thoroughly addressing the prompts and advancing the discussion.
Follow-Up Comments
and Replies
No comments are provided on other posts and no follow-up on questions. Comments may be spare, too short, and do not enrich the discussion. Questions from others are not fully addressed. Comments on at least 3 other posts and reflective follow-up on questions that extend the discussion.
and Support
No references or supporting information is included. References are insufficient or to the resources of low credibility. References to literature, websites, and personal experience properly support the argument.
Style, Clarity,
and Mechanics
Post is unorganized, contains multiple errors, or has content that is rude or inappropriate Post is built in courteous, and helpful manner, but may have clarity issues or errors. Post is clear and concise in style, courteous, free of errors, and easy to read and follow.