Using Discord for virtual classroom

A few papers thus far on Discord for class use:

*Using Discord to Understand and Moderate Collaboration and Teamwork tracked student efforts with Discord. * Discord Application: Turning a Voice Chat Application for Gamers into a Virtual Listening Class (2018) notes the highly positive reaction from an audience using mostly the audio functionality for lecturing. * Abstract (paywall) notes the benefits of moving to Discord vs. Skype.

My approach

I use a “private” Discord server, with the link shared on class announcement board (that requires login). However, the Discord server settings I use do not require signin or verification at this time. This allows students to be pseudonymous when discussing with a group. As long as the link isn’t shared widely on the public internet, negative engagement hasn’t yet been a problem. If this becomes an issue, one can switch to verified email login and ban users.

I turn off the greeting messages under Server Settings → New Member Messages Channel: “No New Member Messages”

The level of engagement on Discord has been vastly higher than that via “official” discussion boards. I do note that this resource is “unofficial” and don’t apply any branding to it.

Key Differentiators

Discord differentiators include:

  • inherently group oriented
  • audio, text, video and screen sharing
  • share link in “official” resource requiring sign in, as long as students don’t share link with public, students can ask questions pseudonymous, encouraging more engagement from those who might be otherwise reluctant to ask a particular question