Learn to discuss controversial issues and improve on AI.

The Discussion Project, designed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, now offers an online workshop focusing on the Structured Academic Controversy and the power of discussion in the new era of AI.

Learn to facilitate discussions on controversial issues and address AI in education.

Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) teaches students to consider, discuss and debate different perspectives of a controversial issue. This helps build critical thinking skills, introduce new opinions and create more informed discussion when there are challenging issues present. As leaders, we can use new AI tools and emerging technologies to add depth to discussion and help students further their learning.

In this workshop you’ll learn:

  • The Structured Academic Controversy discussion protocol, which teaches students to discuss different perspectives and come to a more nuanced understanding of a controversial issue.
  • Key insights on the role of discussion in the new era of AI in education.

A Discussion Project Workshop – Learn the Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) & discuss education & AI

The Discussion Project’s highly interactive workshop, with a focus on Structured Academic Controversy, teaches instructors a tried-and-true method for having students discussion controversial issues in a safe and productive manner. The workshop also addresses the role of discussion in new AI-based learning environments.

June 2023

  • What: 2 hour online workshop focusing on Student Academic Controversy and AI in the classroom.
  • Who: Educators in grades 6-12 and instructors in higher education. Enroll as an individual, with your colleagues or entire department.
  • When: June ##, 2023; 1:00 PM.
  • Accreditation: Participants will receive a The Discussion Project Certificate of Completion which may be used for continuing education credit (20 hours).
  • Register (link)

Ready to combine intellectual thought with new technologies?

Be on the leading edge in understanding how AI can help students work through the challenges of Structured Academic Controversy.

Register today

What is Structured Academic Controversy (SAC)?

Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) is a teaching model and technique that seeks to discuss all perspectives of a controversial issue. It is designed to foster intellectual discussion, consideration of new perspectives and challenges students to apply critical thinking skills as they debate challenging topics.

As learning environments continue to evolve, these skills can be developed and refined over time, benefiting students as they move beyond a structured classroom environment.

How can AI benefit educators and students when discussing controversial topics?

With the onset of artificial intelligence (AI) tools playing an increasingly influential role in learning environments, there are opportunities to leverage these new technologies and help students better discuss controversial issues. While Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) plays a vital role, AI can push students to deepen their learning.

The Discussion Project’s SAC based workshops will seek to supplement the use of AI in these situations.

  • Deepens understanding – Students will have greater opportunity to learn and deepen their knowledge on specific topics. They will need to become increasingly accountable for sourcing information from reliable sources. They will be challenged to debate, question assumptions and synthesize multiple perspectives into a broader understanding.
  • Grows interpersonal skills – Students will be asked to articulate positions in a clear, concise manner and in a human-centric environment. While technology may be a central learning mechanism, the ability to communicate with others is critical to growth and learning.
  • Develops adaptability – While access to information increases, students will need to become more adept at learning and articulating other perspectives as part of the learning process.
  • Builds empathy – Workshops will focus on collaboration, debate and respect for others’ perspectives.


What our professional learners say

Susan Gevelber

Social Studies Teacher (Retired), Madison Metropolitan School District

“The Discussion Project affirmed the discussion practices I’ve used in my high school classroom for over two decades, but also taught me new techniques that I used right away! While reinforcing that student learning happens during discussion, TDP also helped me fully understand the power of discussion as an equity strategy. Exchanging ideas with like-minded professionals was truly beneficial because I thought about using discussions in non-traditional moments. The workshop also gave me time (and feedback) to improve discussion strategies I already use in my classroom. I loved the instructors’ humor and passion, the hands-on learning, the community connection and the powerful techniques I learned. Thanks for a great professional development experience!”

Carla Cariño

Teacher, Denver Public Schools

The Discussion Project helped me evolve my use of classroom discussion strategies in ways that are more equitable and engaging for students. The training also modeled a variety of uses for discussion ranging from quick check ins to longer, more in depth discussion practices. The benefits of discussion in high school classrooms lead to benefits of other skills like reading, writing, presenting, contributions to the classroom community and more. Thank you for leading this important work for high school teachers.”

Ready to learn a new set of skills?



Enroll today