Student Participation: Building an atmosphere of trust in the classroom

9 Ways to Use Class Discussion to Promote Transformation

Classroom discussions give students the opportunity to both delve into their course material and develop their learning skills. But initiating discussion, facilitating participation by everyone, and getting students to build on each other’s contributions takes work.

Along with their commitment to student learning and success, higher education institutions today must also help teach students to think critically, communicate effectively and deal with differences productively. These skills are sought after by employers, yet in short supply in society. In 9 Ways to Use Class Discussion to Promote Transformation you’ll learn how to encourage your students to:

  • Listen to and understand opposing viewpoints
  • Learn from their mistakes
  • Recognize errors in their thinking
  • Become effective team players and leaders.

This 60-minute online video seminar features Dr. Roben Torosyan, associate director of the Center for Academic Excellence and assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Fairfield University, who shares techniques to enhance classroom discussion and make it a vehicle for active learning and intellectual development.

Here’s a brief clip from the seminar:

Learn how to structure discussion to promote cooperative learning
Drawing on his extensive experience in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and his own background as an educator and consultant, Dr. Torosyan emphasizes an innovative and practical approach. Here is just some of what you’ll learn during the seminar:

  • How to have students set and follow ground rules for classroom discussion
  • How to use short, ungraded writing assignments to deepen thinking and discussion
  • How to slow the flow of classroom discussion, and probe deeper
  • How to hear from (nearly) everyone
  • How to make tangents a gift
  • How to keep discussion on track or re-frame it
  • How to break up cliques in the classroom
  • How to use structured controversy to deal with differences productively
  • How to use comments to make the group responsible for its own dynamics
  • How to summarize what was learned
  • How to infuse variety into classroom discussions.

Who will benefit:
9 Ways to Use Class Discussion to Promote Transformation will help everyone from new instructors to seasoned veterans enhance classroom discussion. People in the following positions will particularly benefit from the video seminar:

  • College and university professors
  • Faculty developers and trainers
  • Graduate student instructors
  • Teaching assistants
  • Adjunct and distance education faculty
  • Academic affairs administrators who want to make meetings more effective

The extras you will get:
With polling questions, a video clip and extensive opportunities for questions and answers, there are lots of ways to get actively involved during the seminar. You’ll also leave with strategies and materials you can use right away to take your classroom discussions to the next level, including:

  • An article written by Torosyan on improving classroom discussion
  • Dos and don’ts
  • Sample documents, including an example of an email sent to students who over or under participate
  • Questions for further discussion

When you order the recording of this video seminar on CD, you’ll also receive a PDF of the seminar transcript, all for the same price as attending the seminar live.

A Campus Access License is available for an additional $200. It allows the purchasing institution to upload the CD of the seminar onto the institution’s password-protected website for unlimited access by all the members of the campus community.

New for 2011! A Discussion Guide for Facilitators.
Participating in a Magna Online Seminar as a team can help leverage unique insights, foster collaboration, and build momentum for change. Each seminar now includes a Discussion Guide for Facilitators which provides step-by-step instructions for generating productive discussions and thoughtful reflection. You’ll also get guidelines for continuing the conversation after the event, implementing the strategies discussed, and creating a feedback loop for sharing best practices and challenges.

Classroom discussion – whether face-to-face or online – is a vital part of higher education today, valued as way to explore course content while promoting critical thinking and effective communication. Learn how to improve your class discussions by attending this seminar.


If you have any questions contact Customer Service at 800-433-0499 or (608) 246-3590 or email us at

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