To Discuss or Not to Discuss? What is the Question?

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On 9/24/18 at 4:30pm, I attended the Excellence In Higher Education Virtual Conference Session: To Discuss or Not to Discuss? What is the Question? presented by Lisa Wingate of Columbia Southern University

My favorite items were the scenarios portion. While this was a great deal of up-front work related to the scenario, it has a lot of critical thinking elements, and we can see some real-life issues to go with it.

Current events vs Hot topics can be a good time to get to big items. Revisiting our ideas on emotional intelligence, You may be called on to calm things down.

Debate is nice, but thorughout the discussion, students have to stay on one side of the argument at all times. The use of evidence, facts, sources and citations is a great way to have discussion. One reason here is because you can see students working so hard to get students finding those information points on their own

Organizing structures are difficult to move through in some classes because students have to work hard. A good example: can you see a good job interview as a game

Establishing relevance is a fine way to connect with students. Ask probing questions to determine deeper thoughts. good for adding personal experience to do this question properly.

Deeper Learning questions typically require a medium prep time and a medium interactivity when used for students. Requires some scaffolding, so set expectations early!

Role play is a fine way to get students involved. While debate may force students to take a side, Role play may require students to create a series of questions or respond to a series of questions. They may have little or no experience. They will have to think from their experience and that’s a tough work for students. Its low prep for topics, but high prep for instructions required. There will probably be some medium interactivity for the teacher


We looked through the major 6 notes: Prior Knowledge, organizing, motivation, mastery, emotional intelligence, and meta cognition.

Look to see how the skills can help your students. This chart was discussed

Thinking back to how this started, we pondered: how can we use these questions to embrace deeper-quality learning. Examine their course/unit goals, being prepared,  thinking how interactivity is equal to engagement.

remember to actually enjoy your time.


Lisa WingateIn an online environment, discussion questions rarely elicit jumps of joy; more like moans of pain. And these moans come from faculty and students alike. This presentation discusses types of discussion questions that impact seven principles of learning: prior knowledge, organizing knowledge, motivation, mastery, practice and feedback, course climate, and self-directed learning.