Holding Your Class Discussion Online

In this post, we are sharing suggestions for how to hold your class discussions online.

Below please find the online alternatives for:

  • Whole group class discussion
  • Small group breakouts
  • Peer discussion
  • Peer review or critique



Post discussion prompts on LMS/Google/Digication or allow students to have discussions in online chat spaces of their choosing. They can then submit the transcript of the discussion as evidence of the conversation.

Note: Be sure to set objectives for these conversations that track to your class content/topic.


Using an editable document posted on the LMS/Digication/Google, have students “annotate” one continuous document of discussion questions you have posed in black text. Be sure to set guidelines for their interactions.

Note:  Have each student pick a color text to use for the “conversation”. Set expectations for posing a new question/thought and set expectations for responding to a peer’s questions or thoughts.


Using small, pre-assigned small group breakouts, have students get together to have a small discussion through Zoom, Google Meet or other video conferencing tools to talk over some predetermined content (questions, a specific task—be as explicit as possible here) before the whole class then joins together so the small groups can “report back”. For a more complex version, reorder this as a “jigsaw”. Think about recording and posting this content for students to interact with later, if need be.


Synchronous/Asynchronous suggestions:

Teaching Online Tips and Suggestions 


  • What is the goal of this discussion or peer interaction?
  • How are students preparing for it?
  • What happens during the interaction?
  • What is the take-away or follow-up?
  • What learning objectives does this practice support?

Technology you might consider:

  • LMS
  • Zoom
  • Digitation
  • Slack
  • Google Classroom
  • Google Meet
  • Google Docs
  • Google Slides
  • Google Chat
  • And many others (please check Pratt’s Telepresence on what is supported)

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