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Class debates in Canvas

Community Advocate
Community Advocate
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Classroom debates offer a unique educational benefit in that they leverage communication skills, collaboration, and deep critical thinking. This puts students in a position of being scholarly provocateurs as they research topics, and provide evidence and rationale while supporting their statements (and respectfully refuting the claims made by others).

Explore various ways to create asynchronous classroom debates using a Canvas discussion thread:

Here are some general rules for respectful scholarly debate:

  • Don't get emotional.  Effective debate is over when anger clouds judgment.  Personal attacks are never appropriate or productive in civil scholarly discourse.
  • Be concise. A discussion thread is not dissertation forum.  A primary challenge in academia is to make a clear point with as few words as possible.
  • Support your claims (and stay on topic).  The opening statement should contain the crux of you argument, and the following sentences/paragraphs should all be support for your main argument via relevant examples, research, or personal experiences.  Any statement that is not part of your argument or supporting your argument should be left out of your post.
  • Admit when you're wrong.  More specifically, admit when parts of your argument are wrong.  In our debates, no one person will be 100% right.  We need to take elements of truth and enlightenment from various perspectives and create a new communal truth.  This is called constructivist learning.  When part of your argument is wrong, abandon that part and work to reinforce the remaining argument or cultivate and support a new iteration of a counterargument.
  • Be mindful or argument fallacies.  For a review, refer to this list of logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful. Your job is to engage in scholarly debate by respectfully disagreeing and to proposing counterarguments.  Your job does not include making threats or personal attacks, retaliating, or being disrespectful.  If you have questions about respectful netiquette then reach out to your professor.  


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