Virtual Training


  1. Participants will meet virtually in seven 2-hour synchronous sessions on Zoom. Each session is preceded by one hour of asynchronous preparatory work in Canvas.
  2. A limited number of participants will have access to free instructional consultation with The Discussion Project staff during or after the virtual training.

The Discussion Project Virtual is an online training for designing and implementing equitable, inclusive, and engaging online (rather than in-person) discussion.  The training focuses entirely on synchronous video conference discussion (online discussion via Zoom or another video conference platform).

For those who have taken The Discussion Project in-person training in the past, you will find some material to be similar, though every principle or activity addresses the challenges and affordances of discussion in the online environment.

Please see below for the learning objectives and topics that will be covered during The Discussion Project program.

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“I learned useful discussion strategies that I can use for the entirety of my career.”
TA, Wisconsin School of Business

“I wanted to … underline how much I enjoyed and benefited from The Discussion Project … I feel like it’s been a coming home of sorts giving me permission to teach responsively and effectively by purposefully designing classes to support student-centered discussion.”
– Gail P., Department of Curriculum & Instruction

The Discussion Project Virtual training will help university instructors…

  • understand how the characteristics of online communication affect discussion and classroom climate and account for these in their discussion plans
  • take responsibility for creating an equitable and inclusive classroom climate conducive to high quality discussion by implementing strategies that engage all students
  • distinguish between discussion and other forms of student talk/interaction 
  • learn how to structure online discussion 
  • effectively plan, implement, and reflect on discussion plans
  • understand the purposes of assessment in and for discussion
  • implement strategies that develop students’ discussion skills

Modules of Instruction

  1. Building Online Community
  2. Defining Discussion
  3. Structuring Discussion & Crafting Questions
  4. Whole Class Facilitation
  5. Discussion Plans & Assessment
  6. Planning a Discussion
  7. Maintaining Community