Discussions


Starting in week 2, this class will facilitate reading discussions through in-class sections. For each paper, students will play one of three different roles during discussions: presenter, panelist, and audience. Presenters will read and present the paper (~5 minutes to highlight important themes or points) and initiate the discussion. Panelists will read the paper, write a discussion question on Piazza before class, and then discuss the paper verbally during class.  Audience members will skim the paper prior to class, pay close attention to the in-class discussion (contributing with questions), and will then post a reflection to Piazza after class. 

In addition to the weekly discussions, we will have quizzes on the readings throughout the quarter.

Each section will have a dedicated Piazza group which will contain a thread specific to each paper.  Panelists must develop discussion questions for their weekly paper and post them to the appropriate thread by Sunday at midnight. Presenters should post a link to their Google slides into the Discussion Sign Up sheet before class. Audience members will post their discussion reflections into the appropriate thread after class (by Friday midnight). 
If you have problems posting to Piazza by email or accessing the forum in a browser, simply request access at the Discussion Forum link. 

Weekly Discussion Deliverables: 
Students are required to contribute to all 4 readings each week in the following ways: 
  • Present or serve as a panelist for one paper
  • Audience member for the other three papers (this includes posting reflections on Piazza)
See detailed description of Panelist, Presenter and Audience roles and grading rubrics below. 

Important links:
Students are expected to fulfill the following roles within the term: 
  • Each student must present two papers per quarter within their sections. All papers must be covered; some papers may have up to 2 presenters. Do not present twice is one week; choose papers that happen in different weeks. Presenters also count as Panelists for their paper. Note: presenters/panelists are still required to fulfill role of ‘audience’ for the other papers discussed that week.
  • Each student must serve as discussion panelist for 1 paper per week. Presenting a paper counts as being a panelist. Panelists (except for the presenter) must write a discussion question that brings in key points from the paper on Piazza by Sunday at midnight.
  • Finally you will be an audience member on all papers where you are not a Presenter or Panelist. As audience, your job is to skim the paper and post a discussion reflection after class by Friday at midnight of that week. During class, listen and keep track of key points raised during discussion.

 Roles   Before class     During class  Rubric (points for each role)
 
 Presenters

In-depth reading of  paper.

Prepare a Google slide presentation before class.

Post a link to slides in the discussion sign-up under your AI's sheet (Due before class).


Deliver ~5 min presentation.

Take part in the panel discussion.

(3 pts) If your presentation gives an effective overview of the paper's main points, brings in additional relevant information or analysis to support points in the paper, and raises thoughtful questions that lead to a lively discussion in class.

(2 pts) If your presentation gives an effective overview of the paper's main points and raises thoughtful questions to start the discussion in class.

(1 pts) If your presentation describes some parts of the reading and raises basic discussion questions.

(0 pts) If you do not present or if you do not lead off the discussion.
  
 Panelists

In depth reading of paper.

Write a discussion question on Piazza (Due by Sunday Midnight).

Discuss paper with other panelists and the presenters.

Refer to the Piazza discussion questions if necessary.

(3 pts) If you post a fruitful discussion question on Piazza prior to class that integrates key points from the paper or brings in other relevant works, and you raise numerous interesting and unique points during the verbal discussion in-class. In Piazza, make sure that you are making a unique contribution to the thread by reading all the posts before yours. 

(2 pts) If you post a discussion question on Piazza prior to class that integrates key points in the paper, and you raise unique questions/thoughts during the verbal discussion in-class.

(1 pts) If you post discussion questions on Piazza prior to class with minimal effort, and only offer minimal responses during in-class discussion.

(0 pts) If you do not write questions on Piazza or do not say anything during in-class discussion.
 
Audience
(Week 7 & 9 extra credit) 

Skim through assigned readings.

Pay attention to the panelist discussion (your quiz grade depends on it)



Listen to the discussion (you will be quizzed on this stuff)

Write a short reflection on Piazza AFTER class about each paper (due by Friday at midnight), summarizing the most interesting points from the in-person discussion. 

(3 pts) If you write a Piazza post after class with detailed accounts of the in-person discussion, AND reflect on what was most salient to you from the paper and discussion. Make sure that you are making a unique contribution to the thread by reading all the posts before yours. 

(2 pts) If you complete the Piazza post with a rough account of the discussion, AND reflect generally on your thoughts from the discussion.
 
(1 pts) If you complete the Piazza post with a rough account of the discussion.

(0 pts) If you failed to complete the Piazza post.


How do I effectively present a paper?
The idea is to keep the presentation relatively short (5 minutes or so is the goal, definitely no more than 7 minutes), and to bring up interesting topics for discussion in sections. Keep in mind that the rest  of your discussion section has at least skimmed the paper. Thus, only spend a few minutes summarizing the key learning concepts for the reading. More time should be spent on highlighting interesting points that came up in the online discussion, and in bringing in additional resources that you found while researching your assigned reading. Your goal is to bring out themes that were identified and how it relates to what’s happening today.

In preparing the presentation, try to make your slides interesting. Include relevant visuals. The issues covered in the readings generally relate much more broadly than the readings themselves. Include this material when relevant.

Start the panelist discussion by raising one or two questions. Try to make these questions either (i) build on the conversation that already happened on Piazza, rather than simply repeat it, or (ii) build from additional information you found in your presentation.

For discussion questions, it is usually helpful for the question to not have a clear answer, but rather be one that people might approach from different perspectives. Avoid questions that are too easy or general, e.g., don’t ask a variant of, “Was it good that this happened?” or “What do you think about X?”  Take some time to create an insightful question.

Key considerations for your reading presentation:
  • Briefly summarize the main points of the paper
  • Include relevant examples of how concepts discussed in paper are being applied today
  • Include outside sources that support your presentation
  • Include relevant visuals throughout the presentation (do not hit the audience with a wall of text)
  • Bring up interesting questions and responses from the Piazza discussion
  • Raise 1 or 2 thought-provoking questions (avoid yes/no questions) that either: 1) build on the discussion that already happened on Piazza or 2) build from additional information you found in your presentation.

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