Discussion Tools

Tufts provides and supports several tools for supporting synchronous and asynchronous discussion with your students. To learn more about the solutions below, please contact Educational Technology Services and set up a consultation.


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Host a written, threaded discussion with posts and replies from individual students.

Trunk Forums and TUSK Discussions

Trunk's Forums tool and TUSK's Discussions tool allow instructors to organize and moderate written online discussions within a course site. Discussions can be restricted to small groups or can be open to the entire course.

Invite questions from students that can be viewed and collaboratively answered by instructors and classmates.


Piazza is an online forum tool designed for active discussion. Students can post questions about class content (anonymously, if they choose) and classmates can collaborate to write answers in response.  

Create a space for students to post blog or journal entries and allow classmates to comment.


With WordPress, a robust website-building tool, students can create individual blogs and share them with classmates. Instructors can also create a single, class-wide blog and invite students to author and comment on posts. (For help with setting up a class blog, contact ETS.)


Trunk Journals Tool

The Journals Tool allows instructors to create an individual journal or blog for each student in a Trunk course site. Journal entries can be directed to classmates or to just the instructor and can allow comments from readers.

Facilitate an online chat among students during a lecture or presentation.


WebEx, the university's video conferencing tool, has an integrated chat function. Lecture slides can be displayed on student devices via WebEx and students can use the chat to communicate with the instructor, the presenter, and each other in real time.

Discuss a video, audio clip, or other piece of media.


VoiceThread provides an online social environment for students to interact with their instructor and classmates using digital audio and video. Students can post text comments, record audio clips, or upload videos as part of a discussion. Contact ETS to learn more and get access to an instructor account.

Enhance in-class discussions by polling students on key concepts.


Clickers allow instructors to pose simple questions or poll students in class. Results can be shared back to the class and used to launch discussion of key concepts.


Learning Catalytics

Learning Catalytics is a web-based student engagement, assessment, and classroom response system. Instructors can use the tool to gauge comprehension during or out-of-class and use results to shape discussion. Contact ETS to learn more and get access to an instructor account.