8 Ways to Use Parlay in Distance and Hybrid Learning 2020-10-20T14:28:21+00:00

8 Ways to Use Parlay in Distance and Hybrid Learning

Facilitating inclusive and substantive class discussions is difficult at the best of times. In distance / hybrid learning environments, building community and meaningful peer-to-peer interaction is that much more difficult. Parlay was built with this challenge in mind. This article is an overview of 8 different ‘structures’ for facilitating great class discussions. The first 5 are for distance-only learning. The final 3 are for hybrid environments. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but should give you a good sense of “what is possible” when it comes to using Parlay’s toolkit in this new environment.
If you’re not familiar with Parlay’s Online RoundTable and Live RoundTable discussion activities, we recommend you watch this video before read this post.

Distance Learning

1. Online RoundTable: Asynchronous + Remote

The first and most obvious use-case for Parlay in distance learning is to use the Online RoundTable in a completely asynchronous context.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a discussion prompt at the beginning of the week, creates the relevant assignment in their LMS (Classroom, Canvas, etc.), assign a due date (usually 3-5 days later), and invites students to participate. Over the ensuing week, students find time to prepare their responses and comment on each other’s responses. After the due date passes, teachers close the RoundTable and then complete their feedback and assessment.

2. Online RoundTable: Blended + Remote

The second use-case for Parlay in distance learning is to use the Online RoundTable in a blended asynchronous and synchronous context. Responses are completed asynchronously, and comments/dialogue are done in real-time.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a discussion prompt at the beginning of the week, creates the relevant assignment in their LMS (Classroom, Canvas, etc.), assign a due date (usually 2-4 days later), and invites students to participate. Over the ensuing week, students find time to prepare and submit their responses to the discussion prompt.  Then, during 45-60 minutes of scheduled class time students comment on / reply to each others’ ideas.  After the synchronous session ends, teachers close the RoundTable and then complete their feedback and assessment.

3. Online RoundTable: Synchronous + Remote

The third use-case for Parlay in distance learning is to use the Online RoundTable in a completely synchronous context.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a discussion prompt. When class starts, the teacher creates the relevant assignment in their LMS (Classroom, Canvas, etc.), and invites students to participate. Then, during 45-60 minutes of scheduled class time students write their personal response and comment on / reply to each others’ ideas.  After the synchronous session ends, teachers close the RoundTable and then complete their feedback and assessment.
Pro tip: If you’re going to run a synchronous Online RoundTable, make sure the prompt is not so long that students do not have time to respond & comment.

4. Live RoundTable: Remote

The fourth use-case for Parlay in distance learning is to use the Live RoundTable remotely using Meets, Zoom, or Teams in the background.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a Live RoundTable with guiding questions, and polls. The day before class starts, students read through the guiding questions and take notes. During class, teachers run the Live RoundTable in conjunction with Zoom / Teams / Meets (see video below). Typically, these student-driven discussions last 30-60 minutes. After the RoundTable has ended, the teacher reviews their notes / engagement data for each student and provides feedback.
Pro tip: If you’re going to run a synchronous Online RoundTable, make sure the prompt is not so long that students do not have time to respond & comment.

5. Online RoundTable + Live RoundTable: Remote

The fifth use-case for Parlay in distance learning is to use the Online RoundTable in an asynchronous context, and the Live RoundTable remotely (using Meets, Zoom, or Teams in the background) to dive deeper into the topic.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a discussion prompt at the beginning of the week, creates the relevant assignment in their LMS (Classroom, Canvas, etc.), assign a due date (usually 3-4 days later), and invites students to participate. Over the ensuing days, students find time to prepare their responses and comment on each other’s responses. After the due date passes, teachers close the RoundTable. After the Online RoundTable has closed, the teacher hosts a Live RoundTable (see number 4 above).

Hybrid Learning

6. Online and Live 50/50 Split – Hybrid

In this context teachers run an in-class Live RoundTable for the students who are in class, and a synchronous Online RoundTable (see number 3 above) for the students who are at home.
(STUDENTS IN CLASS)
For the students who are in class, the teacher runs a Live RoundTable discussion activity.
This is preferable because verbal discussions are always best in a face-to-face environment, and the Live RoundTable runs best when the teacher is there to facilitate the conversation.
(STUDENTS AT HOME)
For the students who are at home, the teacher sets up an Online RoundTable for the same time period and with the same questions.
This is preferable because teachers will not have to be “present” for the discussion, but will have a clear record of the conversation and each student’s contributions.

7. Online RoundTable: Synchronous + Hybrid

The Online RoundTable can be used in a completely synchronous context when some students are at home and others are in the class.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a discussion prompt. When class starts, the teacher creates the relevant assignment in their LMS (Classroom, Canvas, etc.), and invites students to participate. Then, during 45-60 minutes of scheduled class time students write their personal response and comment on / reply to each others’ ideas.  After the synchronous session ends, teachers close the RoundTable and then complete their feedback and assessment.
Pro tip: If you’re going to run a synchronous Online RoundTable, make sure the prompt is not so long that students do not have time to respond & comment.

8. Live RoundTable: Synchronous + Hybrid

The Live RoundTable can be used when some students are at home, and some are in class.
Here’s how it works: The teacher sets up a Live RoundTable with guiding questions, and polls. During class, the Live RoundTable discussion will run in conjunction with Zoom / Teams / Meets. The teacher will point the webcam at the students in the room, and project the students who are at home onto the board, so everyone can see them, too! The teacher keeps their microphone and speakers on so that students at home can hear the students in class, and vice versa.
Students tap in when they have something to say, and since Parlay will be the main screen for students, they will be able to speak up and discuss from there. Typically, these student-driven discussions last 30-60 minutes followed by a reflection of the class summary. After the RoundTable has ended, the teacher reviews their notes / engagement data for each student and provides feedback.

Try Parlay today. Your students will thank you!