Try Out a Kialo Classroom Debate for Colleges and Universities

To try out Kialo Edu for the first time, we recommend starting with a classroom debate. Having a classroom debate with your students is the simplest and easiest way to see Kialo Edu in action, and requires very minimal preparation and planning.

For college and university classrooms, we recommend that you first create Kialo teams to help organize your students on Kialo. Teams are useful for minimizing the time it takes to invite students to discussions in the future, and also for separating your class into multiple groups where necessary.

In general, short Kialo classroom debates work best when students are in groups of 15-30. If your class is much larger than that, we recommend that you split up your class across multiple debates to allow students to have more individual input. Larger groups can still have a productive and engaging debate; however, each student usually has less opportunity to participate directly.

For more guidance on using Kialo with large groups, see Using Kialo with Large Groups of Students.

Having One Debate with Your Entire Class

  1. Create a team for your students. Once you have created a Kialo Edu account and logged in, follow these steps to create a Kialo team:
    • Open the My Kialo page and navigate to the Teams section.
    • Click the ‘+ New Team’ button.
    • Enter a team name.
    • Click ‘Create’.
  2. Invite students to the team. The easiest way to do this is by creating a Team Invite Link to share with students. When students click the link, they are added to the team. To do this:
    • Open the My Kialo page and navigate to the Teams section.
    • Select the team, then click ‘Members’.
    • In the Team Invite Link section, click ‘Enable’ to generate the link.
    • Share this link with students.
      You can continue following the rest of this guide to set up the discussion while waiting for students to join the team.Alternatively, you can also invite students directly to the team, which gives you strict control over who joins the team – however, this takes longer to set up.
  3. Decide on a discussion question (“thesis”) for the debate (see: Writing an Effective Thesis).
  4. Create a Kialo discussion:
    • Click ‘Create Discussion’ on the My Kialo Page.
    • Select ‘Single Thesis’.
    • Add the central question, claim, or topic as the Discussion Name. The name is also the discussion thesis – the statement students debate whether to agree or disagree with – but both the name and thesis can be separately changed later.
    • If desired, upload a cover image for the discussion, and add any background or instructions for students to read into the Background Information field. Again, the Background Info and cover image can be edited later.
    • When ready, click ‘Complete’.
  5. Invite the team created earlier to the discussion.
    • In the discussion, click the three horizontal bars at the top-left of the screen to open the Discussion Menu.
    • Click ‘Discussion Settings’.
    • Click ‘Permissions and Invites’ in the window that opens.
    • In the ‘Invite to this discussion’ field, click ‘Pick Team’ and select the team.
    • Click ‘Invite’.
  6. Have a debate! Once students join the team, they have access to the discussion. As Writers, students can add, edit, and move their own claims, as well as comment on each others’ claims to suggest improvements.

In the future, if you want to have another debate in class with all of your students, repeat steps 3-6.

Splitting Your Class Up to Have Debates in Smaller Groups

Note: This guide uses the Clone and Invite Wizard and Team Allocation Links, which are disabled by default. To enable them, please contact support quoting your Kialo Edu username and institution.

  1. Decide on the number of teams you want. (See Recommended Group Sizes for more information.)
  2. Create the necessary number of teams required and invite students to the teams. You can do this two different ways, depending on your requirements:
    • If you do not require a specific composition for your teams: Use a Team Allocation Link to automatically create the desired amount of teams and allocate students evenly across these teams. This option is the least difficult and requires little time; however, it requires familiarization of certain Kialo functions.
      1. Create a team.
      2. On the members page of the team, enable the Team Allocation Link.
      3. Enter the number of teams to be created, which was decided in the previous step.
      4. Click ‘Enable and clone teams’.
      5. The Team Allocation Link is created. In your LMS or via email, share this link with your students.
        You can continue following the rest of the guide to set up your discussion while waiting for students to join the teams.
    • If you require a specific composition for your teams: create each team manually and invite students to their teams by sharing Team Invite Links.
      1. Create each team desired manually. 
      2. Generate a Team Invite Link for each team. 
      3. Compose a list of which students should be in each team. 
      4. In your LMS or via email, share the list of teams and Team Invite Links along with which students should join each team. Students click the links to join their designated team.
        You can continue following the rest of the guide to set up your discussion while waiting for students to join the teams.
  3. Decide on a discussion question (“thesis”) for the debate (see: Writing an Effective Thesis).
  4. Create a Kialo discussion:
    • Click ‘Create Discussion’ on the My Kialo Page.
    • Select ‘Single Thesis’.
    • Add the central question, claim, or topic as the Discussion Name. The name is also the discussion thesis – the statement students debate whether to agree or disagree with – but both the name and thesis can be separately changed later.
    • If desired, upload a cover image for the discussion, and add any background or instructions for students to read into the Background Information field. Again, the Background Info and cover image can be edited later.
    • When ready, click ‘Complete’.
  5. Use the Clone and Invite Wizard to clone your discussion and invite each of the teams  into their own copy of the discussion:
    • Navigate to the My Kialo Page and click on ‘Own’.
    • On the card of the discussion created in the previous step, click the ‘…’ and select ‘Clone and Invite Wizard’.
    • In the first section, ‘Invite each to their own cloned discussion’, click ‘Pick Teams’, and select all appropriate teams.
      Tip – if you plan on using these student groups again for future discussions, it is useful to copy this field once complete and save it for future use. Next time, you can paste the list directly into this field, saving the time of having to select the teams.
    • Click ‘Start Cloning’.
    • Once the Clone and Invite Wizard is complete (usually within a few minutes), return to the ‘Own’ section of My Kialo and confirm the discussions have been created. You can also navigate to the Teams page to verify that each team has been invited to each discussion.
  6. Have a debate! Once students join the team they will have access to the discussion. As Writers, students will be able to add, edit, and move their own claims, as well as comment on each others’ claims to suggest improvements.

In the future, if you want to have a debate in class with the same teams/groups, repeat steps 3-6. If you wish to reorganize students into new teams/groups, repeat steps 1-6.

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