Who should apply to the The Discussion Project Virtual trainings?

  • The training is open to any university instructor (faculty, academic staff, TA) teaching a course that serves 40 or fewer students, whether in-person or online. Priority will be given to primary instructors (instructors of record).
  • To participate in an October cohort, you must be teaching a spring 2021 course.


The Discussion Project Virtual (Fall 2020)

Cohorts are limited to 25 participants.

Cohort Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
October A Fri 10/2/20
Fri 10/9/20
Fri 10/16/20
Fri 10/23/20
Fri 10/30/20
October B Tue 10/6/20
Tue 10/13/20
Tue 10/20/20
Tue 10/27/20
Tue 11/3/20

All trainings will be held online in BBCollaborate Ultra, accessible via Canvas. 

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

  • We accept applications from faculty, teaching staff, and teaching assistants who are teaching a course at UW-Madison the during  the semester for which they apply.
  • Applicants should be teaching a face-to-face course with fewer than 50 students in the semester immediately following the first two days of training.
  • In order to be eligible, applicants must be available to attend both full-day sessions and one half-day mid-semester session.
  • 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.


  • We develop cohorts on a rolling basis. Please click here to apply for our in-person program.
  • *PLEASE NOTE: Because of public health concerns, we are not running in-person trainings during fall 2020. We hope to resume our in-person trainings beginning January 2021. If we are unable because of COVID-19, we will again offer The Discussion Project Virtual, an online training for designing and implementing high-quality online discussions. Stay tuned!

The Discussion Project Trainings (2020-2021)

Cohort Day 1

8:30am – 4:30pm

Day 2

8:30am – 4:30pm

Day 3

8:30am – 12:30pm

1 Thurs, 1/7/21 Fri, 1/8/21 Fri, 2/12/21
2 Mon, 1/11/21 Tues, 1/12/21 Fri, 2/19/21
3 Thurs, 1/14/21 Fri, 1/15/21 Fri, 2/26/2

All trainings will be held in the Education Building, Wisconsin Idea Room (Room 159)

Instructors often assume that college students already know how to engage in classroom discussion.
In fact, a review of the relevant research shows that…

Students often don’t understand what is expected of them during discussion.

Students do not know how to focus their reading for discussion.

Students hesitate to discuss when the classroom climate is too contentious or too cordial. Setting the right tone matters.

Both students and instructors underestimate how much preparation is required to participate in discussion.