There are as many ways to launch a discussion as there are topics to discuss! Even if the activity itself is anchored in carefully selected background reading and resources, the words and media you use to invite learners to engage can be what make your course discussions active and memorable.

This course takes place over 5 days, with a bit of spill over into the weekend to tie up loose ends. The idea is to provide a supportive environment for you to ask questions, take risks, offer advice, and have fun.

In this course you will:

  • think about a collaborative discussion you would like to launch (any topic!)
  • draft a compelling discussion prompt
  • invite others to comment on their willingness to engage based on your springboard tactics

Facilitating Learning Online (FLO) MicroCourses are short, single-topic, hands-on and free. In one week, you will dip into the FLO experience, and leave with something practical and useful for your own teaching practice.


You should expect to spend at least 5 hours for course activities during the week. If you don't have prior online teaching and learning experience you might need to invest more time. Active participation will make this course successful for everyone! 

Research Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by Tuesday morning

Step 1 - What? Why? What have others done?

A discussion prompt is a springboard that solicits valuable learner contributions to course discussions. The outcome of a good discussion prompt is a thoughtful,  rich dialogue that enriches course experiences and content.

Consider the advantages of kicking off your discussions with a compelling discussion prompt:

  • Encourages active participation from everyone
  • Moves away from transmission of information
  • Opens up opportunities for learners to explore ideas, question assumptions, and apply new knowledge 
  • Brings in multiple perspectives
  • What are other advantages you would list here?

Have you come across compelling discussion prompts? What caught your attention? Is there something new you would like to try?

Check the Tips & Resources page for research, ideas, and tips. 

Learn by doing! There's a discussion waiting for you in the Open Forum to kick things off.  

Creation Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by end of day Wednesday

Step 2 - Draft it!

Now that you have considered the why and how of your discussion prompt, you're ready to create your first draft.

What is your starting point? During the research phase did you land on one of these?

  • I found the perfect discussion prompt and will use it as is. Here's why.
  • I found a good discussion prompt but will modify it. Here’s how.
  • I will start from scratch and create a discussion prompt. Here’s my plan.
  • I will ask my students to write their own discussion prompts. Here's how I will guide that activity.

Step 3 - Post it

Post your discussion prompt or a description of what you are planning to the Sharing and Feedback forum following the instructions in the forum description. 

Review and Feedback Phase

Suggested timeframe for completion: by midday Friday

Step 4 - Review and engage

Review the fabulous discussion prompts and select a couple to engage in or to comment on how compelled you felt to engage.

Step 5 - Give and receive feedback

Some guiding questions are offered in the Sharing and Feedback forum. Use the MicroCourse feedback rubric to guide your feedback!

Did you receive advice on how to improve your discussion prompt? Feel free to revise and share!

Last modified: Tuesday, 10 August 2021, 4:29 PM