Student Testimonials

Student Surveys

The following survey responses were submitted by students enrolled in two sections of ENG2100: Writing 1 (F20, F21) and one section of ENG2150: Writing 2 (S21) at Baruch College. Students completed surveys on a voluntary basis shortly after the close of the semester. 

How does your learning experience with Discord measure up against other remote learning platforms? (e.g. Zoom, BlackBoard)

“Sound quality, video quality, being able to communicate with my peers and professor quickly and easily, having every aspect of learning under one roof, organization, links to learning material, being able to look back on work / ideas from class discussions. Working in small groups and office hours. One of the greatest things in my opinion is the accessibility of discord. After you join the server initially, you do not have to remember things like zoom ID’s, passwords, links for five classes. I disliked Zoom meetings and would get easily frustrated with having to track down the link to the call or password or ID. If it were up to me, I would want every class on discord. I can imagine a perfect remote-learning world where I open discord and see 5 servers for school all lined down the left side of the screen and never having to really leave discord for terrible platforms like zoom or blackboard.”

“Overall, it’s safe to say that learning with Discord is a much better learning platform than Zoom for smaller tight-knit classes, a prime example being our class. I’ve only ever heard of Discord being used in a gaming context, so it was interesting to see how it can be implemented in a pedagogical format. Some strengths would be that instead of the typical randomized break out rooms on Zoom, we had writing groups separated from the class with both the chat room AND the video calls—this was helpful for people who chose to speak with their mics as well as those who were more comfortable typing in the chat. I also noticed that my specific writing group would occasionally connect with one another anytime in the chat in case we needed more peer revisions and feedback, which I found to be extremely helpful, unlike Zoom where typically the professor would be the host to start the meeting. I also loved how we had different class channels for each category, varying from exit tickets to just random topics. The only negative would be the technical difficulties that would happen from time to time, but that’s expected of all learning platforms.”

In which ways did Discord help you connect with your peers this semester?

“Discord made it very easy to communicate with other students because their profiles are easily accessible. You can quickly DM another student or spark a conversation based on something they said in a channel, something impossible to do on Zoom besides private messages. And even with Zoom’s private message, any text sent in chat is gone after the meeting, deeming any in-chat contributions useless for anything beyond that lecture.”

“Without the actual “going to college” experience, it actually felt like I was in a classroom despite being remote. With Discord, I was able to send a DM to anyone and because our class was so small, I felt like I knew more people here than in my other large classes. I was able to recognize some people in this class in my other class and it felt much more comfortable talking to them.”

“I actually made a few friends this semester just through the option of adding friends on Discord. The option to add friends made me connect to my classmates more easily than with the classmates of my other classes. Because of this class I became pretty good friends with [redacted] and [redacted] since I did not have to awkwardly search their names on Instagram to reach out.”

What are your thoughts on using Discord for synchronous class meetings? 

“I loved using Discord for our class meetings and I wish that more of my classes were on Discord for the fact that it was easy to manage and move around on. Prior to taking this class, I had never used Discord before so I was initially a little scared about not catching on to how Discord works, but it was surprisingly very easy. I liked how we got to do writing assignments in one of the writing channels of our class. I feel like it allowed me to be more authentic in my writing and work. Using music was also a nice touch and something that I really enjoyed during our Discord class meetings.”

“It was great. It’s so much better than zoom because of how quickly you can enter a voice-channel. With one click you are in the class meeting, that has great quality. Navigating zoom for class meetings is such a hassle. First, at least in my experience, scrolling all the way down to the first message with the zoom link and information on blackboard, then joining which takes a while as well. Also some teachers make it so that when you join your mic is unmuted which I don’t like. On discord it is so seamless considering the students are already in the server and all they have to do is open discord (most people are automatically signed in too) and click one icon and you are connected to up to dozens of other students. One thing about discord that I think will be added soon is an increase in the maximum amount of voice channel participants from 50 to hopefully hundreds. Discord is optimal for smaller classes but I think it would work just as well for larger classes to be honest.”

“Class meetings on Discord were overall better in the sense that there was a lot of flexibility. Like I mentioned before, a Zoom meeting could only start with a host, which would be the professor of course. But I like how we were able to go on Discord and the class meetings at any time to check up on things. And that one time when you weren’t here was also a time where we were still able to get together and just talk.”

What are your thoughts on using Discord for group work?

“It is great. Gives students a small space to chat and work things out. It is great for educational purposes, and in my experience it was great for being able to talk to other students and just small-talk when work was finished. It is nice that students are in the drivers seat and take themselves into the small group on their own. Zoom’s breakout rooms do not compare to discord’s. The text channel for that group is great for sharing information, and sharing screens is also a useful tool.”

“Similar to class meetings, I enjoy using writing groups again because of the ability to speak with familiar voices unlike Zoom breakout rooms. Not only this, Discord allows you to respond to messages with emojis (like a thumbs up or a laughing face) and in a way, it’s reassuring and friendly to the person who sent the message. I would say using Discord is a simple yet clear way to communicate with others, both academically and non-academically.” 

“I think that the writing and peer review groups were helpful through Discord. It was easy to communicate with my group through the chat function and being able to privately discuss our papers. Since using Discord for this function, I believe that I was able to improve my pieces of writing in many ways.”

“I like the writing groups and how we get to freely chat in the smaller channels!”

What are your thoughts on using Discord for office hours and one-on-one conferences? 

“It was very easy to use Discord for office hours. Since we could easily communicate with you about when we wanted to talk, and could see if someone was in the channel already, it took off this sense of pressure and anxiety of waiting.”

“It is super beneficial for both the professor and the student. Not only is it way more efficient and quick, but it also provides a bit of comfort for the student. Discord is usually associated with happy and chill vibes, but with zoom sometimes there’s a stressful vibe.”

“extremely useful! I like how there was a limit of 2, and even without actually going on the office hours channel, you were always available through DM!”

“Using Discord for office hours was also a pleasant experience. I like how easy it is to communicate through the platform of Discord in terms of the chat and DM function.”

What are your thoughts on communicating with your instructor via direct messages rather than email? 

“Discord is way more chill. It feels less intimidating to reach out to the instructor through discord compared to email.”

“I think that it was very beneficial! The whole process of contacting the professor was a lot faster and more casual than typing out an email.”

“So much less stress. I feel like I’m talking to my friend more than my professor/instructor.”

“I find it to be a lot faster and reliable than emailing my professor. Of course, it does hinge on both parties (students and teachers) to keep an eye on their notifications just like an email, but I prefer this method.”

In which ways did the design of our Discord server feel like a classroom space to you, if at all? 

“I loved having different rooms/chat spaces for various purposes (ex. the general and random channels). It made our conversations feel more authentic and it helped remote learning feel more personal.”

“I like how interactive the discord chat can be. We get to react to each other’s comments in the general or random channel, for instance. You can’t really do that on other educational online platforms.”

“For me personally I found Discord’s classroom sessions as more of a gathering space. Although I was not able to participate as much during this semester, hearing others speak on global issues and responding through chat removed the feeling of being confined in a classroom.”

“The general chat room was very unofficial and more chill. People would react in class and hype each other up or even agree with comments of things being said in the class time and that was probably my favorite part because it wasn’t filtered.”

“It has many different sections for many different situations. The class call room is the classroom, the group call rooms are for when you talk among your group mates, and the different side sections are where you answer questions and submit work.”

What are your thoughts on using Discord in hybrid or face-to-face classes in the future?

“I think it’s a good idea! I feel like Discord could also serve as an effective study/hangout server for students in the same class when class isn’t in session.”

Discord creates a sense of community even through the computer so in hybrid classes it would do so even more.”

“I believe that it could still be of use as you can easily find and submit work on discord for the teacher to find and if there’s a situation where we cant have class in person, we can always rely on discord as a backup to continue the class.”

Student Reflections

Excerpted with permission from direct messages between student and instructor:

“I love that with Discord it feels like a classroom even though it is remote. The fact that all of the students have access to each other and can communicate is so powerful in connecting students to each other. In my speech I will talk about how school has the intention of teaching students things in various subjects, but school has another important function of connecting students to each other and their teachers. Discord allows for friendships to form and for people to meet each other, while being the superior platform for teaching… on Discord, “everything is under one roof.” I love that on discord the voice channels are instantaneous, and you don’t need tedious meetings ids and passwords. Also, on Zoom, any text chat is gone after that meeting. So what is the point of it then? It’s one time use just leads to forgetfulness of whatever transpired during the class. On Discord, everything we talk about is still there for us to refer back to and reflect on. I think if Discord is smart, they will continue gearing their platform to schools and expand their capabilities.”

Excerpted with permission from end-of-term course reflections in response to the following prompts: Which class did you enjoy the most, and why? What can be improved in this class in terms of content, assignment, and engagement?

“I will remember the discord chats, even though it’s such a small thing it makes this class feel more tight knit. I liked seeing the notifications of someone posting a show for us to watch or even telling someone to feel better! It made this class feel more like a little family!”