Inclusive class discussions are meaningful in a variety of ways. Through open dialogues with students, instructors can receive direct feedback, gauge class climate and motivate students to learn from one another. Furthermore, increased engagement opportunities can help students gain a better understanding of course material.

When a shift to remote learning is necessary, these benefits do not have to stop. Whether using video conferencing to lead a synchronous class session or forums to encourage an asynchronous exchange, online discussions offer the same benefits, including an interactive way to build and maintain relationships with peers when in-person meetings are not possible.

Considerations

The encouragement, motivation and feedback that students offer one another through class discussions can help to improve overall engagement and promote an inclusive supportive classroom environment, regardless of where students may be located.

  • Choose an appropriate pedagogical approach
    The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning’s (CATL) pedagogical approach to online discussions offers strategies that help to foster learning and community among students in your course.
  • Facilitate engaging discussions
    Blogs, Moodle discussion forums and instant messaging, like the Microsoft Teams chat feature, are among online platforms that offer students a place to share reflections on course content or assignments. Students also can comment on one another’s work, exchange thoughts about instructor prompts and discuss questions and strategies for understanding course content and its application. In addition, video conferencing with Teams, Webex or Zoom provides synchronous options for meeting with your students online.

Resources