Welcome to the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center!

Located in the James E Walker Library, Room 348

Teaching Resources

Discussion Techniques
return to teaching resources


Bookmark and Share

engaging students active learning online courses engaging students online


Class discussion often results in an increased curiosity about the subject area, more positive perceptions about the value of the subject, higher rating of the course, increased time spent reading materials related to the subject, and higher attendance. However, there are also some drawbacks to class discussion: several participants may dominate the discussion, the discussion seems to disrupt class flow, or participants may seem bored during discussions. There are many discussion techniques, designed for small or large classes, which will be helpful in promoting the positive aspects of class discussion and avoiding the negative aspects.

MTSU Resources

Teaching Tip

LTITC Resources

From our library--

Bender, T. (2003). Discussion-based online teaching to enhance student learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Knowlton, S. & Obarefoot, B. (1999). Using national newspapers in the college classroom: Resources to improve teaching and learning. New York: The New York Times Press.

Lee, V.S. (2004). Teaching and learning through inquiry: A guidebook for institutions and instructors. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Online Resources: Tips and Strategies

Ohio State Handbook on Electronic Discussion

Structuring Online Discussion from Tom Cantu, Instructional Designer, Towson State.

Eberly Teaching Excellence Center at Carnegie Mellon provides a brilliant interactive diagnostic tool for teaching problems such as with discussion in class. One of the best on the academic web.

ASU Delicious tags for discussion techniques.

Online Publications: Viewpoints, Articles, Books...

The Zen Ten: Article from the University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center Faculty Newsletter. Provides techniques to energize student discussion after they have become too dependent on the professor.

Univ of Oklahoma offers a handout of tips on generating good discussions.