Discussion Tips

Discussion Tips

Grading Criteria

Criteria  Excellent  Satisfactory  Unsatisfactory  Poor 

Overall Length of Discussion 

Weight 25%  100-76 % 

Achieved over 350 words in the discussion. Discussed the topic in detail. Length showed mastery of the material.  75-51 % 

Achieved over 300 words in the discussion. Discussed the topic in detail. Length showed mastery of the material.  50-26 % 

Did not achieve 250 words in the discussion. Length shows knowledge of material, but not mastery of material. 

  25-0 % 

Achieved less than 200 words. Length shows no knowledge of the material and/or did not explain question fully. 

Answered All  


Weight 25%  100-76 % 

Answered all questions in the discussion. Answers were of adequate length, detailed, and showed mastery of material.  75-51 % 

Answered all questions in the discussion. Answers were not of adequate length, needed detail, but did show mastery of material.  50-26 % 

Answered most, but not all the questions in the discussion adequately. Answers shows knowledge of material, but not mastery. 25-0 % 

Did not adequately answer the questions. Answers were extremely brief in length. Answers show little to no knowledge of material. 

Listing and Using Sources 

Weight 50%  100-76 % 

Correctly listed 2 or more sources. Sources met class requirements and correctly cited sources in the discussion.  75-51 % 

Correctly listed 2 or more sources. Sources met class requirements but were not cited correctly in the discussion or not cited at all.  50-26 % 

Listed only one source, source did not meet class requirements, or sources were not properly listed at the end of the discussion.  25-0 % 

No sources were listed at the end of the discussion, discussion was plagiarized, or did not use listed sources. First two will result in an automatic zero on the assignment. 

Importance of Discussion 

Online discussions account for 15% of your overall grade in this course. Students need to make sure to read the chapter before attempting to answer the discussion question to ensure they make the best possible grade. Reading the chapter will help students know how best to answer the question correctly. 

Make sure you read the above grade criteria to understand how discussions are graded in this course. Grades will be based on the overall length of the discussion, answering of the questions with the discussion, and the quality of sources used in discussions. Reading the grade criteria ensure students understand where points may be deducted in their discussions and how to prevent it from occurring. **Grading criteria allows for grades to be as objective as possible**  

Plagiarism of any type is a serious academic offense and breaks the South Texas College Code of Student Conduct. https://life.southtexascollege.edu/student-rights-and-responsibilities/student-conduct/academic-dishonesty/ Students will receive an incomplete on their assignment, as well as be reported to the college for their academic violation. Make sure you understand what plagiarism is and how best not to commit this academic offense. https://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism 


Importance of Sourcing and Citing 

Students need to list at least two primary sources at the end of each discussion. Primary sources provide immediate or first-hand knowledge of a topic. Textbooks, research articles, “.edu” sites, and “.gov” sites are highly recommended. There are many good “.org” sites, but not all “.org” sites are acceptable sources of material. Your teacher will have final say of what sources are acceptable or not acceptable for the assignment. 

Students need to cite all their sources within each discussion. Students are expected to cite each source correctly within the discussion (author, year) to get receive full credit for the source. If students have questions about how to cite their sources within the discussion, they should use this link: https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/apaquickguide/intext 

Discussions need to be original work backed by primary sources. Discussions should not be full of quotes from listed sources, rather discussion should be a student’s own words backed up by facts from their sources. Although some personal experience can be used in your discussion, it should not make up the majority of your discussion. Remember that you are not an expert in the field and therefore cannot list yourself as a source for the discussion.  

Failure to list your sources at the end of your discussion will result in an automatic incomplete on the assignment. Information provided in the discussion cannot be verified without sources and therefore plagiarism will have to be assumed.  

How to Find Good Sources 

Go to https://library.southtexascollege.edu/ 

Under Research Tools, you will see the “Databases” CLICK IT. 

Under the “Databases” menu be sure to click “P”. 

Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will find “Psychology and Behavioral Science Collection.” CLICK IT. 

Click “Full Text” box and then type in your keyword or words in the search bar. Click “Search”. 

The quality of articles you depend on how you worded your search. 

When you click on an article, the menu on the right-hand side will have a tab labeled “Cite”.  

When you click it the “Cite” button, the article will be cited for you in MLA or APA style. All you will need to do it just copy and paste it at the end of your discussion. (Do not just copy the URL of the STC website, points will be deducted). 

Defining Good and Bad Sources 

Good Sources 

Text book (classroom textbook) 

Research articles (STC library database) 

Good websites include (.gov or .edu) 

Other websites possibly include .org (use .org at your own risk) 

Bad Sources 

Any and all .coms 

YouTube or wiki sites 

List the instructor as a source (list the book instead) 

Do not use simplepsychology.org 

Do not use blogs, even if they are .org or .edu 

Posting Discussion and Finding Grades 

Log into Blackboard and select the course you are in (Psych 2301, 2314, 2306, or 2319.) 

Once you find the module with the current week, “Click it.” 

When the module for the week opens, you will find the chapter discussion, “Click it.” 

Read the discussion question and then click the discussion question when you are ready to start the assignment. 

Once in the discussion, you will see “Responses” and it is here that you will submit your answer. (I would recommend working on the discussion in Microsoft Word and then just copy/paste.) 

Make sure to copy and paste your answer in the space provide and click “Submit” when you are finished. Make sure to proof read your answer before submitting making sure you listed your sources. 

Before you log out of Blackboard go back to the discussion question and make sure that your answer was submitted. (You should be able to view your submission after a couple minutes.) 

Grades for your submitted answer will be available in a timely manner and before the next discussion is due. (Allow some time for grading of the assignment before emailing and asking for your grade.) 

You will find your grade for the assignment under the “Gradebook” tab located on the top of the right-hand side menu of homepage of the course.  

Each grade will have a comment explaining your grade, you just need to click your grade in the gradebook. (If you are using the Blackboard Ultra app, you may not be able to see the comment. Make sure to log into Blackboard Ultra via a computer.) 

Grades for discussions are final, but feel free to ask questions about the grade if you do not understand the comment given on your grade. Make sure to take the comment into consideration before attempting your next discussion.  


Check List Before Submitting Discussion 

Discussion was more than 350 words long, not including the sources at the end of the discussion. 

Discussion was organized into separate paragraphs, checked for grammar, and spelling. 

Answered all the questions in the discussion in their own paragraph and all the answers were detailed.  

Listed all sources fully and completely at the end of the discussion; double checked that the sources where not on the “bad sources” list. 

Cited all my sources correctly within the discussion (author, year); double checked all sources at the end of the discussion were cited. 

Copy and paste your discussion into the current discussion chapter, double checked that it posts before exiting Ultra. 


Updated: Nov 2021