The Five Stages of Discussion Posts

If your classes are asynchronous, you probably have to write posts and responses about class readings. This format is not isolated to LIS programs. In a former graduate program, I was plagued by these posts as well. In my opinion, writing these posts really do make you reflect on the readings. Gathering your thoughts and formatting them for others to read is a good thing. However, these posts can feel a little tedious when you write them every single week.  I initially wanted to write about the anxiety and/or boredom some of us feel when completing this weekly task. However, I realized that each week I actually go through a range of emotions while writing discussion posts. The Five Stages of Grief, or the Kübler-Ross model, came to mind. The Kübler-Ross model was created to help people identify and understand what they are feeling during the grieving process. Below is my model to help you do the same with your feelings about discussion posts.

The Five Stages of Discussion Post

1. Hope
You look on your program’s online platform and see the week’s topic. You then progress to required reading list for the week. Some of the article titles look pretty interesting. After reading the discussion prompt you already have an idea of what you want to write. This is going to be a good week! Hope is the very first stage a LIS student encounters. During this stage the student is excited to be introduced to new LIS concepts and share their views.
2. Boredom
Those article titles were misleading. You are now six pages into the first article and you need a break. For every interesting paragraph you read, the next five are mind numbing. “Why me?” and “What if I just read the summaries?’ are questions you ask yourself.
In this stage, the LIS student realizes how much (dry) reading is actually involved in LIS studies. The student becomes listless and may disassociate from class readings.

3. Anxiety
You decided to take a break from the readings. That break turned into four days. Your post is due tomorrow evening. There are three articles and a book chapter left to read. During this stage the LIS student experiences stress and possible fear over the progress of their discussion post.
4. Acceptance
“No Netflix tonight.”
In this stage, the LIS student accepts their fate as a graduate student. This leads to a calm resolve to finish course readings.
5. Relief
The final stage. During this stage the LIS student experiences joy and relief from completing their discussion post and required responses that week. I have found that only stages one and five have set placement. The other three stages vary week to week. The Five Stages of Discussion Posts are not real. It is my feeble attempt at making light of something that stresses some of us out. For some courses the discussion posts can count for as much as 30% of the final grade! Relax, take a deep breath. do your readings, post by the due date, and repeat until you finish your program. Discussion posts aren’t hard. I can also say that they aren’t the most exciting. Try to use them as a chance to be innovative. Check with your professor(s) to see if it’s okay to insert links to other articles and video clips. This may actually lead to some amazing discussions with your classmates. Remember you get as much from your program as you put in it. Don’t stress yourself out about discussion posts. Save that stress for group projects.

By Guest Author Nakisha McNeal

Nakisha has been working in libraries for over a decade. She is currently an MLIS student in Valdosta State University’s online program. Her interests include Whole Person Librarianship and digitization. Outside of work and school you can find her watching too much YouTube or getting her Fitbit steps in. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

7 replies

  1. Ha, this was amazing! 1-2 points toward my grade for this amount of stress? And everyone’s so busy getting their own posts up, very few of us actually engage with the others, so…how is this a “discussion” again?


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