Coffee CourseEngagement

Facilitating Effective Discussions

Having discussions in class is one of the most common and embedded methods in university teaching. Discussions can allow for deep and active learning and stimulate critical thinking through interaction, peer to peer learning and the exchange of ideas.

But what constitutes an effective discussion? How can we set up for different types of discussions?

This course will provide an overview of how we can effectively plan and facilitate in-class and online discussions to enhance student learning. It will explore pedagogical approaches underpinning discussions, facilitation techniques and a range of activities that can be employed to achieve vibrant discussions.

We invite you to share your experiences and best practice tips on this topic to get this discussion rolling!

Course Dates

This course ran from Monday, 25 March to Thursday, 28 March 2019 through this blog but is accessible online to anyone interested. There are 4 blog posts, that will each take about 15-20 minutes to work through.



Karlene Dickens is a Learning Technologist with the ANU Online Team. Karlene loves the fluid and dynamic nature of facilitating group discussions and is continuously inspired by the transformation and growth that occurs for both the group as a whole and the individuals within it. Karlene has facilitated numerous groups in diverse settings both face-to-face and online, including corporate, community and university environments.


Rebecca Ng is a Learning Technologist with the ANU Online team. She describes herself as a “partial cyborg” as she believes that technology has changed the way she thinks and approaches her daily life. More importantly, it has changed the way we perceive and learn. Hence, she is interested in researching new pedagogical approaches that can effectively integrate different technologies to support higher education.


Technology-Enhanced Learning in Higher Education Certificate

Go here to learn more on getting recognised for your participation in coffee courses (ANU Staff only).

All are welcome

We welcome all staff, including tutors, demonstrators, professional staff, and academics at the Australian National University and beyond to join us for this course.


Please feel free to contact with any questions.