Online course

Seven 2-hour online sessions

The Program Basics

The Discussion Project Virtual is an online training for designing and implementing equitable, inclusive, and engaging online (rather than in-person) discussion. The training focuses entirely on synchronous video conference discussion (online discussion via Zoom or another video conference platform).

Participants will meet virtually in seven 2-hour synchronous sessions on Zoom. Each session is preceded by one hour of asynchronous preparatory work in Canvas.

Please see below for the learning objectives and topics that will be covered during The Discussion Project program.

Learning Objectives

The Discussion Project Virtual training will help university instructors…

  • understand how the characteristics of online communication affect discussion and classroom climate and account for these in their discussion plans
  • take responsibility for creating an equitable and inclusive classroom climate conducive to high quality discussion by implementing strategies that engage all students
  • distinguish between discussion and other forms of student talk/interaction
  • learn how to structure online discussion
  • effectively plan, implement, and reflect on discussion plans
  • understand the purposes of assessment in and for discussion
  • implement strategies that develop students’ discussion skills

Pricing

Contact us for pricing information.

Module 1

Structuring Discussion & Crafting Questions

Module Content

  • Why small group discussion?
  • Jigsaw Discussion on four texts that address students' experiences with equity. 
  • Crafting Questions: How to craft high quality questions for discussion.

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting texts to prepare, including an article, 2 videos, and one podcast

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 2

Whole Class Facilitation

Module Content

  • When and why do we have whole class interactions, including discussions?
  • What are the main whole class facilitation techniques that increase participation and engagement?  Guide to Whole Class Facilitation Techniques (resource)
  • Whole Class Discussion on a grading policy: Would you use this policy for grading classroom discussion participation?
  • Ping Pong Share on facilitation techniques

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting documents

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 3

Defining Discussion

Module Content

  • Distinguishing discussion from the broader category of student talk
  • Structured Academic Controversy, as an experienced example of discussion. Issue: Should university instructors grade classroom discussion?

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting documents to prepare

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 4

Building Online Community

Module Content

Characteristics of Online Communication

Rank order & partner discussion

The Last Word Protocol: Data Set #1

Students’ experiences with online learning & discussion

Training overview & set up: 

Norms and Working Agreements, introduction to the platform, modes / methods of instruction, etc. Our main modes of instruction are 

  • Modeling (showing how to teach)
  • Explaining (telling you what we’re doing)
  • Experiencing (you will be learning through experiencing the activities)
  • Debriefing (reflecting on what you experienced to model the power of formative assessment for future improvement and also to consolidate learning

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Introductory video from the Dean
  • Google slides
  • Discussion Project data sets on students’ experiences
  • Various supporting documents
  • Running Agenda with access to all slides, documents, processes and additional resources for the training

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 5

Discussion Plans & Assessment

Module Content

  • Guide to Designing a Discussion Plan (resource)
  • Snowball Discussion: Analysis of Example Discussion Plan 
  • Overview of Assessment: Summative and Formative
  • Discussion Sandwich Protocol on Self-Assessment

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting documents

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 6

Planning a Discussion

Module Content

  • Critical Friends rounds - colleagues provide feedback to each other on their Discussion Plans
  • Padlet-based synthesis activity on planning for discussion

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting documents

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom

Module 7

Maintaining Community

Module Content

  • Case Study Discussions. Case studies each describe a rift in classroom climate.
  • Recipe Activity: Recipe for Classroom Discussion 
  • Closing Carousels (synthesis activity)

Module Deliverables

Asynchronous Prep (1 hour)

  • Google slides
  • Various supporting documents including Case Studies and videos of student interviewsVarious supporting documents

Synchronous

2 hours of interactive learning on Zoom