Redefining Discourse

Redefining Discourse

Remote programming helps bring ideas together.

When you think of having a discussion, what first comes to mind? You most likely envision two or more people gathering together to exchange ideas, knowledge share, and connect with one another. And until most recently, you likely envisioned this type of discourse taking place in-person, with the participants gathered around each other in the same, shared space.

With the onset of COVID-19, society at large has had to redefine what it means to convene together, but the core goal of conversation remains connection and understanding.

Earlier this month, we began transitioning the first of many of our programs to an online format with the objective of bringing people together to convene and discuss ideas in an online setting. One of these programs included an On-Campus Discussion Colloquium.

As part of our Campus Event Support programming, these discussion colloquia (DCs) center around authentic conversation and bring together a small group of students to discuss ideas in an open forum.

Initially devised to be held on location at Michigan State University, the program evolved into a remote format through the assistance of the faculty partner. This included reimagining the structure of an in-person DC and translating to fit a digital environment.

To achieve this, IHS staff worked directly with the faculty partner and discussion leader on ways to minimize screen fatigue, as well as shift the standard printed collection of readings to digital copies.

Through these efforts, the transition to an online discussion for “Markets and Morality” was a seamless one.

Dr. Alexei Marcoux, the discussion leader for the event remarked:

One thing I always appreciate about working with IHS is the entrepreneurial spirit of both the organization and the people who work there. It was on display in spades here. I’m glad this colloquium went forward despite the circumstances.

– Dr. Alexei Marcoux

With keeping the heart of why discussion matters central to the theme of the online program, this DC was able to accomplish the same goals as its in-person counterparts; providing students with a forum for compelling, and respectful dialogue on engaging new topics through quality programming.

The discussion was very compelling, and I love that there are institutions like IHS that can provide incentives for students to participate in such valuable discussions outside of the classroom.

– Eric S., Student Participant

As educators seek to engage with their students during these uncertain times, it’s reassuring to see that society’s deep roots and desire to connect with one another remain stronger than ever.

Interested in our Discussion Colloquia or hosting an online IHS event? The Faculty Programs section on our website offers a variety of resources for faculty and their students, including funding opportunities and online graduate programming.

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