Tips on hosting a synchronous class on the Discord platform

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Tips on hosting a synchronous class on the Discord platform

Below is a short description of the preparations that Mr Miguel Rivera, a member of the PolSc faculty made for his synchronous classes.

Decide on a definite platform for announcements. Platforms that can accommodate announcements, forums, as well as video conferencing all-at-once should be preferred.  Prepare the equipment. Smartphones are the default. However, for these sessions, Mr Rivera used a desktop computer and a studio condenser microphone.  Initially, he used the free program Discord as the platform to consolidate his classes. The platform integrates text chat rooms, voice chat, and video presentations. It also has other advanced features such as advanced permissions for access to the server, server roles, and the creation of subchannels.  Discord, however, does not have a recording feature. To record everything happening to his classes, he used the Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) program. OBS enabled him to set-up the recording resolutions and the bitrate of his audio file.

However, Mr Rivera was quick to point out that this somewhat complicated procedure has shaped his preference to recommend Google Meet or Zoom conferencing tools given their integrated recording features.

Additional learning tips in conducting an online class, include “signposting” every once in a while. This would require the teacher to summarize and integrate discussions as the class goes along. For example,  the teacher can signal, “we have just discussed Institutional Design. Next, we are going to discuss Presidential systems in particular”. In addition to helping those who are only listening, signposts are also useful for future transcription.

It is also important to always be in touch with the nodes in the communication process such as who’s asking the question and what question is being answered and by whom? In answering questions in the chat box, for example, the suggestion is not to answer the question right away, but to say the name of the person asking the question, to read the question, and then to answer it.  For example, say “Mr. Rivera is on chat asking, what are …..”.

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