Server Models

This module outlines the different types of instructional models you can adopt to organize your server. The first step in that process is to determine whether you want to use Discord to teach a single class or multiple sections. The second step involves tailoring the design of your classroom server to your course modality, which is likewise covered as part of the module.

Single Class Servers

Single classroom servers support one section of students and are recommended for educators teaching with Discord for the first time. That way, the role permissions of your server will be clear-cut and manageable when the time comes to implement Discord into your teaching workflow. The majority of templates in the toolkit’s collection are tailored to this model and should be of use to you going forward. 

It is recommended for single classroom servers that you at least create one role for students and one role for yourself as the instructor. If you plan to use role-exclusive group channels as part of your classroom server, then you will also create roles for each of your peer groups. 

When you create single classroom servers, there are a number of ways to populate them with roles. Here below is one such models for establishing roles for a server that uses group work:

  • @Instructor
  • @Students
  • @Group 1
  • @Group 2
  • @Group 3
  • @Group 4

Yours may differ according to the learning contexts of your course. The above list should offer a mere example of what you can expect the roles of your single classroom server to look like. Here is an image of what these roles would like in Discord:

Click here to check out a course template that exemplifies a fully developed single classroom server. 

Multi-Class Servers

You can also use a single Discord server to support multiple course sections. If you choose to do so, then you will create distinct roles, channels, and categories for the separate sections you’ll be teaching. 

Disclaimer: This is for advanced Discord users who feel comfortable managing role permissions. 

Multi-classroom servers require you to assign distinct roles to students depending on which course sections they are enrolled in. Once you create those distinct student roles, you can assign them to students and proceed to set up corresponding channels and categories for separate sections. That way, students from one section won’t be able to access the channels and categories associated with another section. 

In order to populate roles for multiple sections across one server, you can follow this model below:


ENG 101: Writing 1

  • @Students (ENG101)
  • @Group 1 (ENG101)
  • @Group 2 (ENG101)
  • @Group 3 (ENG101)
  • @Group 4 (ENG101)

ENG 102: Writing 2

  • @Students (ENG102)
  • @Group 1 (ENG102)
  • @Group 2 (ENG102)
  • @Group 3 (ENG102)
  • @Group 4 (ENG102)

You should color-code these roles to help you differentiate which students are part of which section.  Given the model bulleted above, here’s what these roles would look like in your multi-classroom server:

With this in place, you can then follow these steps to get started with a multi-classroom server that contains two course sections. 

  1. Assign distinct roles to students enrolled in different courses across your server
    1. Example: Prof Moriarty assigns the @Students (ENG101) role to Regina George who is enrolled in his section of ENG 101: Writing 1
    2. Example: Prof Moriarty assigns the @Students (ENG102) role to Ferris Bueller who is enrolled in his section of ENG 102: Writing 2

  1. Assign distinct role permissions to categories and channels that you only want the students in a given course to access
    1. Create a private category, then add the @Students (ENG101) role it
    2. Create another private category, then add the @Students (ENG102) role to it
    3. Populate both of these group-only categories with channels as you would an individual course in Discord. When you add channels to private categories, those channels inherit the same role-exclusive permissions as the category under which they’re arranged

  1. Optional: repeat this process to set up section-specific peer groups by first assigning distinct group roles to students with the @Students (ENG101) and @Students (ENG 102) roles
    1. Example: Prof Moriarity assigns the @Group 1 (ENG101) role to Regina George who is enrolled in his section of ENG 101: Writing, and who is part of Group 1 in that class
    2. Example: Prof Moriarity assigns the @Group 1 (ENG102) role to Regina George who is enrolled in his section of ENG 102: Writing, and who is part of Group 1 in that class
    3. Proceed to add section-specific group roles to private categories and channels in the same way as described in Step 2 above
    4. For more guidance on peer groups, skip to the module on Group Collaboration

Course Modalities

One of the key affordances of developing a classroom server with Discord is its flexibility. In adopting one of the general models above, you can responsively tailor your channel layout to meet the demands of multiple modalities, supporting asynchronous as well as synchronous modes of engagement as the semester goes forward. If you begin the term teaching a face-to-face course and need to transition it online, then you can flexibly redesign your classroom server to accommodate hybrid and fully online modalities.

In Discord, the primary difference between in-person and online learning concerns the need for a synchronous voice channel, which can be added or deleted in a matter of three clicks. The agile design of Discord server is therefore an essential advantage of the platform during uncertain times. Keep this in mind as you go forward with the design of your classroom server, not only before but also during the semester.

Continue to Channel Models →