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Improve Student Participation using a Chord Diagram

The chord diagram is not only cool to look at, but it is a useful element for tracking student engagement in classroom discussions.

We’re constantly working to make sure that the Parlay program is the most useful tool teachers have to spark critical and engaging discussions that create an inclusive environment in and outside of the classroom. The most recent update includes lots of improvements which you can read about here.

Among the updates was the inclusion of the chord diagram!


What is it

The chord diagram is a graphing method that shows inter-relationships between different pieces of data. The data is arranged within a circle and shows the relationships between the data points using lines or arcs.

In Parlay’s case, we use the chord diagram to display the quantity and more importantly the quality of student responses in Open Online RoundTables.

The benefits

The chord diagram gives you meaningful insight into how your students are participating within the discussion and with their peers. A straight-forward graphic that shows how many times each student participated and the diversity of their engagement.

The simplicity of the diagram makes it easy to see how each student participated during the discussion. Allowing you to have a visual of who contributed, whom of their peers did they communicate with the most and how often they participated in the conversation.

It combines all of the students actions to show you an uncomplicated overview of what each individual student did during the discussion. Giving you easy to read information to use during your summative assessment and or feedback.

Also, it also looks really cool.


Improve class discussions

Use the chord diagram as a visual to understand each students engagement.

Giving Feedback

During your feedback think about how many times that student participated, if it’s one to two times and they said only a few words, give them a gentle reminder to keep at it and maybe they’ll feel more comfortable in the next discussion.

Future Groups

If you see that one of your students responds to one other student in particular, it may help you make decisions when splitting students up for group work or fishbowl discussions. Pair them with each other, or split them up to diversify the conversation.

Different Kinds of Discussions

You may see from the chord diagrams that some students participate similarly in every Online RoundTable. If you see similar trends among your students, you may try different activities to see if it changes how your students participate

Some examples are: student reflections, peer feedback exercises, homework activities, book reviews, case studies and online debates. There are lots of options that can help you facilitate more productive discussions.

See the chord diagram in action. Sign up with Parlay for your free class!

Try it today and let us know how it goes! 🙂