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 Coder Merlin™  Computer Science Curriculum Data

Unit: Lab basics

Experience Name: Community (W1001.20)

Knowledge and skills:

  • §10.112 Actively mentor learners within and beyond the school environment

Topic areas: Discussion forums; Communication & collaboration

Classroom time (average): 20 minutes

Study time (average): 30 minutes

Successful completion requires knowledge: understanding how to use a discussion forum

Successful completion requires skills: ability to search a discussion forum; ability to post to a discussion forum; ability to respond in a discussion forum


As in all sciences, communication with other humans is vital. Communication, at its essence, is the exchange of information between people. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, verbal communication is the most important candidate skill:

When asked to assess candidate skills/qualities, employers rated verbal communication skills the most important...
- NACE's Job Outlook 2016 report.

Written communication is no less important. While formal written communication has existed for many centuries, an emergent form of informal written communication has emerged in the age of the internet. Individuals in business, family members, and friends communicate via a variety of forms of "instant messaging". A new jargon has emerged built of initialisms, emojis, and emoticons. How many of the following do you know?

rofl lmk ily yolo smh
g2g nvm btw dm ama
hashtag dm rt ama bump
troll meme facepalm epic fail faq
Pwned lag noob tbh imho
🥺 😂 😒 👍 🌵

There are many different forums in which we'll be required to write and each has its own rules. Realtime communication streams will tend to use many abbreviations and be less formal, while printed communication (in a newspaper or a book for example) will tend to avoid them.

Your invigilator may have prepared one or more electronic communication forums for you to use in your studies. These forums enable you to communicate with your colleagues, peers, and others. Some of the most common include:

A platform for realtime communication and file sharing
A modern forum for civilized discussion
A modern forum for discussion
Text messaging
Generally used for point-to-point, realtime communication
Generally used for distributing text to one or more recipients in an asynchronous fashion
A website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users

Ground Rules[edit]

Different forums are suitable for different purposes. As you use these various communication mechanisms you'll develop an appreciation for their strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of which forum(s) you use, please keep the following rules in mind:

Civil discourse is engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding.
- Mark Kingwell (1995). A civil tongue: justice, dialogue, and the politics of pluralism.

  • If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.
  • Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Absolutely avoid:
    • Name-calling
    • Ad hominem attacks
  • Provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.
  • If you see a problem, flag it!
  • Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.
  • Do not attempt to impersonate another user (visually or textually)

Many of the above are excerpted from the Discourse FAQ. Please read the entire FAQ for more great ideas.


  •  W1001.20  Because there are a wide variety of platforms and choices, please follow the specific instructions provided by your invigilator.
    • Compose a post of one to two paragraphs per your invigilator's instructions.
    • Reply to at least two different classmates outside of your own initial post thread. (Demonstrate more depth and thought than simply stating that "I agree" or "You are wrong.")

Experience Metadata

Experience ID W1001.20
Unit Lab basics
Knowledge and skills §10.112
Topic areas Communication & collaboration
Discussion forums
Classroom time 20 m
Study time 30 m
Acquired knowledge understanding how to use a discussion forum
Acquired skill ability to post to a discussion forum
ability to respond in a discussion forum
ability to search a discussion forum
Additional categories

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