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R-MC Faculty Teaching Toolkit: Facilitating Discussion


Facilitating Discussions


Discussions in Canvas

Canvas logo   Discussion Boards in Canvas


Use Discussions to encourage students to participate in class-wide discussions outside of synchronous class sessions. 

Instructors can:

  • Assign graded discussions to all students in a course (text), to individual students (text), or to groups of students (text)‚Äč. Default Notification settings allow students to receive discussion board posts in their R-MC email. 
  • Reply to discussions as an instructor (text)
  • Add peer review to a discussion so that students can provide feedback to other students (text)
  • Add a rubric to a graded discussion (text)

Learn more about working with discussions in Canvas (video | text)


Go to the Faculty Canvas Course for tips on leading good online discussions.

Hypothesis as a Discussion Tool is a tool that encourages collaborative annotation and discussions around texts (PDFs and public webpages). It is integrated into our Canvas LMS. The course Instructor can set up a project in a Canvas module, and students can highlight, add annotations and respond to each other's comments. Technical and pedagogical details are on


Discussions with FlipGrid


Flipgrid logo   Discussions with Flipgrid

Learn how to:

  • Get started with Flipgrid (video | text below video)

View ideas for using Flipgrid in a college classroom

  • Remote Learning in Higher Ed with Flipgrid (text)
  • Review these additional ways to use FlipGrid (text)


Kialo edu

kialo logoKialo Edu for Discussion and Debate


Kialo Edu is a custom version of Kialo ( the world's largest argument mapping and debate site, specifically designed for classroom use. Its clear, visually compelling format makes it easy to follow the logical structure of a discussion and facilitates thoughtful collaboration. Kialo’s mission is to promote well-reasoned discussion online, and to that end, Kialo is free for educators to use.

To get started:

1. Navigate to and Sign Up to create a free account. 

kialo-edu sign up


2. Click Create Discussion to start your discussion. 

kialo-edu website with the create discussion button highlighted

3. You can customize the following options:

  • Private (only invited people can see the discussion) or Public (anyone can find, view, and offer suggestions on your discussion)
  • Single Thesis or Multiple Thesis
  • Discussion Title and Background, and Tags can be added (optional) 
  • Images

4. Invite participants and let the debate begin!

Zoom discussions

Zoom logo Using Zoom for Discussions


Zoom can be accessed in the Canvas course navigation or at

Several functions of Zoom lend themselves to synchronous class discussions:

  • Lead large group discussion with the entire class.
  • Create discussions groups in Breakout rooms and have the groups report back to the whole class about their discussion (Learn how to use Breakout rooms  - video | text located beneath video)
  • Polling (Learn how - video | text located beneath video) and chat (Learn how to set up chat (text) can be used in variety of ways for discussion