Class Discussion

There are various ways to facilitate discussion in Discord. One method is to couple one text channel with a voice channel in order to encourage multiple lines of student communication at once. You can do so, for instance, by encouraging students to partake in discussion through a #general text channel and a Class Meetings video at the same time. This enables you to bring the affordances of text-based and audiovisual communication in accordance with one another, which opens up a wider range of opportunities for students to engage in large-group discussion than is otherwise available when is independent of the other. You also can bring additional text channels into the mix to change the pace of large-group discussion by opening up possibilities for more asynchronous modes of engagement.

As an instructor, it can be difficult to multitask in ways that harness the synergy of text and voice channel during discussion, while also paying credence to the communications of all students as they flow through channels. With a little practice, though, the task can become second nature for you. Toward that end, this module walks you through the model uses and feature suggestions at your disposal when facilitating discussion in Discord. Pick and choose what suits you best, add it to your toolbox, and practice up!

Model Uses

  • Backchannel Communication: for encouraging students to communicate through backchannels that are adjacent or lateral to the space where the conversation is currently centered. Encouraging students to informally engage with class discussion can cultivate more authentic and intuitive communication customs in your classroom server. 
  • Assign Helpers or Scribes: for inviting certain students to help “take minutes” as part of your class discussion by abridging key points made by other students and relaying them to a specified channel in your server. This strategy carries affordances for the helpers or scribes, the learners whose points are documented, as well as for you as an instructor in taking stock of class discussion after the fact.
  • Free Writes: for reserving time in class for students to decompress and write freely in response to themes, topic, and points made during synchronous modes of discussion. When students post to a #freewrites channel, learning becomes more visible to your class as a whole, and doesn’t as much privilege students who feel more comfortable with improvisational dialogue.
  • Q/A Space: for encouraging students to freely ask questions in response to class discussion and ongoing learning activities, posting these queries to their fellow peers as well as yourself. Reserving a channel for this purpose expressly licenses students to post questions when they arise 

Feature Suggestions

  • Events: for scheduling events within your classroom server’s voice channels, which formalizes windows of times in which to hold class meetings, learning activities and discussions as part of your lesson plan, and student conferences during office hours. 
    1. Navigate to your server dropdown menu
    2. Select Create Event
    3. Name and describe the context of the event
    4. Select Create Event

  • Threads: for organizing more cohesive exchanges in response to topics and activities raised during large-group discussion, group dialogue, and more asynchronous modes of engagement. This feature also enables you to effectively compartmentalize the flow of conversation by dedicating threads to different contributions made by your students among class discussion.
    1. Navigate to the text box for messages in text channels
    2. Click the plus sign icon
    3. Select Create Thread
    4. Name the thread
    5. Produce a Starter Message to kick off discussion
    6. Select Create Thread

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