Application for The Discussion Project Virtual June Cohorts is now open!

If you would like to apply for The Discussion Project Virtual, please visit our application page. More

The aim of this professional development series is to strengthen our campus-wide capacity to create welcoming, engaging, and academically rigorous classroom environments in which students experience productive classroom discussions on important issues and topics.

Our Mission

Engaging discussions are one of the most rewarding and memorable activities that students and faculty alike can experience in the classroom. Recent research shows that classroom discussion deepens learning, creates community, and helps students form an academic identity.

At the same time, classroom discussion is a challenging pedagogical undertaking. It requires the instructor to orchestrate learning among a group of students who likely do not know each other, come from a diversity of backgrounds, possess a range of political commitments, arrive with varying levels of familiarity with the course material, and have different levels of comfort speaking in class.

Inviting students to discuss also comes with some risk because we don’t know what students are going to say. That unknown means that the instructor will have to be ready to follow one student’s interesting and unexpected line of thought, correct another’s misunderstanding about the material, and also be prepared to respond to any number of possibly off-topic, inappropriate, hostile, or naïve comments.

To address these promises and challenges, the School of Education has designed a professional development program for UW faculty and teaching staff. See the Program Overview page for more details.


I was fortunate to take part in your training last month. I am not exaggerating when I say it has changed my life. I am teaching a 15-person and a 50-person undergraduate course this term, and I am using the skills you taught me each class session. It has made me think differently about my teaching and I am quite sure the students’ experience is all the better for it.
Thank you! You all are providing a fantastic service.
-Professor Kathy Cramer, Political Science, UW-Madison

Who should apply to The Discussion Project Virtual trainings?

  • The training is open to any university instructor (faculty, academic staff, TA). The training is designed to support instructors teaching a course that serves 40 or fewer students, whether in-person or online.
  • We give priority to instructors of record and those teaching a course in the Summer or Fall of 2021.

Application

  • The application for The Discussion Project Virtual April/May and June 2021 trainings are now open! Please visit our Apply page to access the application.

The Discussion Project Virtual, June 2021

Cohort Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
JUNE

Mornings

6/1

9-11AM CST

6/2

9-11AM CST

6/3

9-11AM CST

6/4

9-11AM CST

6/8

9-11AM CST

6/9

9-11AM CST 

6/10

9-11AM CST

JUNE

Afternoons

6/1

1-3PM CST

6/2

1-3PM CST

6/3

1-3PM CST

6/4

1-3PM CST

6/8

1-3PM CST

6/9

1-3PM CST

6/10

1-3PM CST

Each cohort is limited to 25 participants. All synchronous sessions will be held online on Zoom. Each synchronous session will be preceded by ~1 hour of asynchronous preparatory work in Canvas. 

Who should apply to The Discussion Project in-person trainings?

  • The training is open to any university instructor (faculty, academic staff, TA) teaching a course at UW-Madison.
  • Applicants should be teaching a face-to-face course with fewer than 50 students in the semester immediately following the training.
  • In order to be eligible, applicants must be available to attend all full-day sessions.
  • Please note that the application is not on a first-come-first-served basis and that we have limited availability for teaching assistants. For the purposes of our study, we will be constructing cohorts based on a number of factors. We will contact you as soon as we can to confirm participation. We will aim to notify participants 6 weeks in advance of the training for which they are confirmed.

Application

  • We will resume in-person trainings August 2021 and our exact dates, times, and application will be available in April 2021.

Media Highlights



“The Discussion Project was, by far, the best teaching workshop I’ve experienced. Not only did we receive new tools for facilitating discussion, we also got practice using them. The workshop was especially helpful for learning how to hold discussions on controversial political and ethical issues, how and when to share my own views as an instructor, and how to create the right mix of comfort and discomfort in the classroom.”

– Andy D., Department of Geography