CUE 2013


Going in Circles – Managing Large Online Class Discussions #cue13LC

How do you manage discussions in large online sections? How do you connect students to each other and help them “stick” with the course? How do you keep your sanity when juggling dozens of students? Start by going in circles!

Friday March 15, 2013 11:30am – 12:30pm 
Catalina, Renaissance Hotel (888 Tahquitz Canyon Way Palm Springs, CA 92262 USA)

  Session, 6 – Concurrent Session
  • Host Organization Victor Valley College
  • Audience and Grade level ALL, 6 – 12, College
  • Topic Multi, OL, PD

LC “Instructions” to Students

There is great value in working closely with a subset of students. This will be your built in “study group”. Although you are encouraged to engage with classmates outside of your circle as time permits, you will only be required to interact with those who are in your group (6-7 people) on a regular basis. Working in a collaborative setting with peers will give you a wider perspective on issues and a greater understanding of similarities and differences. In the age of communication and cooperation, you are likely to find yourself working closely with people who are located throughout the world. Learning how to manage group interaction is a valuable skill that will benefit you as you continue your college education and career preparation. 

Learning circle groups are encouraged to determine a good time to meet online, at least once or twice during the course of the semester. This can be a virtual meeting, using the class chat room or other agreed-upon tools, or an actual face to face meeting if everyone agrees that is useful. They will be asked to come up with a name and to create a set of “norms”, or rules, that everyone will be asked to follow to allow for smooth access and participation. Circles will be assigned a discussion forum where they will engage in class discussion topics and periodically “report out” a group consensus to the larger class. They key words to success here are “engagement”, “participation”, and “communication”! 

You can find your group mates by going to the Participants list in the “People” block on the right side of the class main page. Post an introduction to your group forum that includes some basic information: preferred name and email address, time availability for group chats, college major, location and something interesting about yourself. That will start the process of connecting that will benefit you throughout the semester. Pay attention to how your circle is doing in class… offer help when you can… make contact if you notice that someone hasn’t logged in for a few days… let your circle know if you are having problems or questions… study for tests together… work on projects together. The most important thing is to stay connected! You are all in this together!



Discussion Forum Grading Rubric

[direct link]




Video Resources

Margaret Riel – A Leader Is One Who Inspires


Margaret Riel – the Evolution of Learning Circles


Margaret Riel – Principles of Learning Circles


Margaret Riel – the Power of Learning Teams

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