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The Discussion Board (DB) is part of the core of online learning

The Discussion Board (DB) is part of the core of online learning. Classroom discussion in an online environment requires the active participation of students and the instructor to create robust interaction and dialogue. Every student is expected to create an original response to the open-ended DB question as well as engage in dialogue by responding to posts created by others throughout the week. At the end of each unit, DB participation will be assessed based on both level of engagement and the quality of the contribution to the discussion.
At a minimum, each student will be expected to post an original and thoughtful response to the DB question and contribute to the weekly dialogue by responding to at least two other posts from students. The first contribution must be posted before midnight (Central Time) on Wednesday of each week. Two additional responses are required after Wednesday of each week. Students are highly encouraged to engage on the Discussion Board early and often, as that is the primary way the university tracks class attendance and participation.

The purpose of the Discussion Board is to allow students to learn through sharing ideas and experiences as they relate to course content and the DB question. Because it is not possible to engage in two-way dialogue after a conversation has ended, no posts to the DB will be accepted after the end of each week.
Yesterday, you received an e-mail from one of your subordinates that was also sent out to everyone in the department. The e-mail hinted that people from a certain geographic region were not as smart as those from other regions. Today, you receive the following e-mail from Walter:

Subject: Was I Wrong?

I am receiving many e-mails from our colleagues stating how they are offended by the e-mail I sent out yesterday. I thought it was funny, and evidently, others just can’t take a joke. So far, I have refused to respond to any of their e-mails, hoping that by ignoring them, they would let it go. But now, I am wondering if I should apologize. What do you think?

In your Discussion Board post, including the following:

  • Was your subordinate wrong?
  • Should he apologize? If so, how should this be done? If not, why not?
  • What advice would you provide this person to prevent the situation from happening again?
Suggestions for responding to your classmates: