EME 810
Solar Resource Assessment and Economics

How to Participate in an Effective Discussion in EME 810


Discussion expectations

Course participation is as important for learning in this class as the lesson content itself. You 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. You should see two due dates for each lesson's discussion activities. You will have a due date for when initial postings will be shared with the community. A subsequent due date is listed for you to do commenting back and forth with your classmates.  This commenting back and forth is two-fold: (1) you commenting on another student's post and (2) you commenting on the comments other students leave on your post. 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 Friday and Sunday nights 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 course be polite and respectful in your communications.

In short, 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.


The following rubric will be used to grade all graded discussions.

Discussion Rubric
Criteria Unacceptable
0 Points
1 Point
2 Points
3 Points
Frequency Participates not at all. Participates 1-2 times on the same day. Participates 3-4 times, but postings not distributed throughout the week. Participates 4-5 times throughout the week.
Initial Assignment Posting Posts no assignment. Posts adequate assignment with superficial thought and preparation; doesn’t address all aspects of the task. Posts well-developed assignment that addresses all aspects of the task; lacks full development of concepts. Posts well-developed assignment that fully addresses and develops all aspects of the task.
Follow-Up Postings Posts no follow-up responses to others. Posts shallow contribution to the discussion (e.g., agrees or disagrees); does not enrich the discussion. Elaborates on an existing posting with further comment or observation. Demonstrates analysis of others’ posts; extends a meaningful discussion by building on previous posts.
Posts information that is off-topic, incorrect, or irrelevant to the discussion. Repeats but does not add substantive information to the discussion. Posts information that is factually correct; lacks full development of concept or thought. Posts factually correct, reflective, and substantive contribution; advances discussion.
References & Support Includes no references or supporting experience. Uses personal experience, but no references to readings or research. Incorporates some references from literature and personal experience. Uses references to literature, readings, or personal experience to support comments.
Clarity & Mechanics Posts long, unorganized or rude content that may contain multiple errors or may be inappropriate. Communicates in a friendly, courteous, and helpful manner with some errors in clarity or mechanics. Contributes valuable information to discussion with minor clarity or mechanics errors. Contributes to discussion with clear, concise comments formatted in an easy to read style that is free of grammatical or spelling errors.

*Credit for Rubric: Barbara Frey