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Designing and facilitating remote discussion sections

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - Friday, September 11, 2020 @ 2:30 pm

Register here

This workshop will be offered repeatedly in Summer and Fall 2020. Consult the workshop calendar for alternative times.

Date and time: Wednesday, September 9 AND Friday, September 11, 1pm-2:30pm.
Participants are expected to attend both sessions. The second session we’ll work on real-world scenarios and model further discussion ideas. Please expect to spend some time writing a discussion plan and exploring resources between sessions.
Location: Online (link will be emailed to registrants prior to the workshop)


In this two-part workshop, develop a toolbox to facilitate remote classroom discussions through hands-on experience with typical challenges. Explore approaches, skills and practical applications for synchronous and asynchronous* discussions. Questions addressed may include:

  • What are the goals of online discussion?
  • How can discussions be structured? How do I adapt activities designed for a face-to-face discussion for an online discussion?
  • How can you get all students talking (or typing, or recording, or drawing/writing), and keep things on track?
  • And, how you you assess what students are learning?

Please note: As it is expected that participants will be using many different platforms and approaches, this is not primarily a tech support ‘how to’, although we will have some. Facilitators will be available after the workshop to offer a sandbox for you to be the moderator, and get tech ‘how to’ guidance on ideas you may have taken away (e.g. Blackboard Collaborate Ultra polls or breakout rooms, Piazza best practices).

* Asynchronous means that you work on your own schedule, either independently or collaboratively (but possibly at different times). Asynchronous discussion structures include contributing to online discussion boards, Q&A forums, and collaborative documents or whiteboarding tools. In a synchronous online discussion, participants (and often the instructor) interact using a virtual platform at a specific time. Structures include using breakout rooms, small or whole group collaborative documents or whiteboarding tools.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020 @ 1:00 pm
Friday, September 11, 2020 @ 2:30 pm
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Devin Wixon and Jess Maher