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Community Contributor

Digital #Power-ups: Scaffolds and Hashtags for Student Engagement in Online Discussions

Join us for a stimulating marvel of fantastic fun as  @travis_thurston ‌ and  @ewander  defy gravity with their digital power-ups!

Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Time: 4:20 - 5:00 pm (we know it's late in the day, but you will not be disappointed!)

Place: Crestone Peak 1-2

Have you ever wanted to immerse your students in online discussion topics, make them dive deep into their brains to access previous knowledge or utilize higher-order thinking? Well, this is the show for you!

We use Canvas Discussions (yes, the very one you already have access to, you need nothing extra) to create an architecture of engagement using "Digital #Power-ups." Let us help you help yourselves implement this evidence-based approach in your online courses.


Who wouldn't want to see these two present together?

Erin & Travis

7 Replies
Community Champion

Presentation Slides: 


Digital Powerups‌

  • Remember: List or restate something you just read; then, add an opinion in your response. Use #remember
  • Understand: Ask a question that will help you understand what you read. Allow a peer to respond to your question. Use #understand
  • Apply: Organize what you read into something new. Include a poem, chart, timeline, diagram, or model in your response. Use #apply
  • Analyze: Examine a quote you read, and then compare it to a different text. Explain why you think they're related. Use #analyze
  • Evaluate: Critique something that you read in a respectful manner. Cite text-based evidence in your response. Use #evaluate
  • Create: Develop a novel response based on what you read using text, video or other supplies to innovate. Use #create
  • Connect: Connect to an issue outside of your school. Think globally, and share how collaborated in your response (this requires actual action on your part). Use #connect


Sample Discussion

Class Interaction Activity 2

Sample Description

Please also take a look at Brad Gustafson's (Dr. Brad Gustafson (@GustafsonBrad) | Twitter ) original blog post about digital powerups: 

Power-up Digital Learning | Adjusting Course 

Community Champion

Thank you so much for sharing your resources here,  @ewander ‌ and  @travis_thurston ‌! I'm hoping all the presenters will take the opportunity to connect with the Community this way.

I especially like this slide! 🙂

Venn diagram of educational experience

Thanks, laurakgibbs‌! We're happy to share insights on our own implementations, and I'm always interested in bouncing ideas around for future solutions and implementations.

Hi Travis,

I have an instructor looking to implement Digital #Power-ups in their courses. What tool did you use for the Class Interaction Activity sample? 

Thank you,

Alesha Harvey

Services- Instructional Designer

San Juan College, Farmington NM

Community Champion

Hey, All! (laurakgibbs‌,  @GregoryBeyrer ,  @kona ,  @Bobby2 ,  @lstark , stefaniesanders)

As a follow-up to our instcon18-session‌,  @ewander  and I recently compiled a resource to provide a little more insight on implementation, and a sample discussion forum for instructors to better visualize how using the DigitalPowerups strategy in their course can work:

Hope this is helpful for everyone!


Community Coach
Community Coach

Oh my what a powerful line up to be tagged in! 

Many thanks for all of these resources  @travis_thurston . Jolly well timed too.