Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Succeeding in postgraduate study

5.6.5 Summarising

Once the group activity is complete, you may be required to summarise the outcomes. Summarising is a very useful skill to learn. Try practising it when you are participating in forums for personal use. Here are a few practical points to consider when summarising online forum posts:

  • The summary should represent all contributions, and not simply your own views.
  • Try to correctly interpret the comments made (do not embellish the group’s outcomes with your own thoughts).
  • You should extract the key points made, and draw out conclusions.
  • Short, concise points containing the key pieces of information will work better than an extended piece of writing.

In writing the summary, you will also need to have understood what parameters were agreed at the start of the discussion.

  • Is it a summary of what everyone thought?
  • Is it a summary with a decision to be made?
  • What did you agree about making the decisions?

In this section we considered how group discussions could be managed online, explored some differences between online and face-to-face group discussions, recognised some of the difficulties of managing online group discussions and ways of overcoming them, and reflected on how to summarise online group discussions. There is no simple ‘magic formula’ for online group activities, but we hope that the guidance provided here will help to improve your own participation and practice, and benefit you in your postgraduate studies.

SPS_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus