Discussions in Groups with Respondents and Discussants


For this activity, you will be placed in a discussion group of 14-16 students. Every week, you will have one or more questions to discuss with your discussion group. You are expected to fully participate every week. At the end of the term, you will hand in a Discussion Summary showcasing your participation and elaborating on your learning.

The discussion questions are designed to get you interacting with course concepts: thinking about what they mean, and imagining how they might be applied in the real world. The discussions are an opportunity for you to express your opinions about key ideas and debates in the field, and to hear the opinions of your peers.

Each week you will be asked to make 2–5 posts that answer the discussion questions or respond to your classmates' answers.

Each week, you must complete the reading quiz and work through the lecture materials before you are prepared for the discussions.

How to Participate in a Discussion

Each discussion group will be divided in two equal subgroups, Blue and Red. Each colour group will swap between two roles each week:

  • Answerers (who answer the posted questions), and
  • Discussers (who discuss the answerers’ posts).

You can check which colour group is performing which role each week by reading at the description in the Discussions tool.

If you are an Answerer, you must post your first message by Thursday, so that the Discussers have time to respond to you.

If you are a Discusser, try to reply on Friday or Saturday, so that the Answerers have time left in the week to come back and engage in discussion with you. Your instructor is less interested in reading everyone's "answers" to the questions than to see all discussion group members engage with each other in meaningful dialogue.

Group Membership

To find out which Discussion Group and Colour Group you are in, click Connect and then Groups on the course navigation bar above. If you are not in a group by the date indicated on the Course Schedule, please contact Technical Support at learnhelp@uwaterloo.ca. Technical support is available during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Eastern Time).


If it is your week to answer, you must:

  • post your answers by Thursday in the appropriate discussion board.
  • For more information, please read the descriptions in the discussion boards.

If it is your week to discuss, you must:

  • post your responses to the ‘answerers’ posts by Saturday in the appropriate discussion board.
  • Choose one or two posts by the answerers and engage with what they are saying:
    • agree or disagree with them, and explain why;
    • challenge them to provide more examples or take their thoughts further;
    • build on their posts by adding additional insight, perspective from the course materials, or examples;
    • ask for clarification; or
    • provide an alternative viewpoint.

Please refer to the Course Schedule for dates.

Discussions can be accessed by clicking Connect and then Discussions on the course navigation bar above.


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