The Discussion Project Virtual starts week of July 20

The Discussion Project is launching a new virtual program that starts the week of July 20.

The Discussion Project Virtual is an online training that supports UW–Madison instructors in creating the conditions for equitable, inclusive, and engaging online discussions. For full consideration, apply by July 3.

The Discussion Project logoThe training consists of five, two-hour synchronous sessions in BBCollaborate Ultra, each accompanied by an hour of asynchronous work. For completing all sessions, modules, and program evaluation surveys, participants will receive $250. All participants will also have access to free instructional consultation during or after the training. Any UW-Madison instructor of a fully online course this fall may take the training, including graduate students who are the primary instructor for their course.

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 and articulate the benefits of discussion for student learning
  • Identify the relative advantages of different ways of structuring discussion and match discussion types to specific learning objectives;
  • Effectively plan, implement, and reflect on classroom discussions
  • And implement strategies that develop students’ discussion skills.

Research conducted by The Discussion Project during the spring of 2020 — and based on 1,164 surveys and 92 interviews of UW-Madison students — indicates that they greatly value high-quality online discussion as it helps keep students engaged in learning.

This new training is designed to support UW-Madison instructors in their important work to improve online discussion.

The Discussion Project is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and operates within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, which is housed within UW–Madison’s School of Education. School of Education Dean Diana Hess is the project’s principal investigator.