Though I was unable to watch the various groups’ presentations live, I found the recordings did a perfectly respectable job of showing me what I missed. I thoroughly appreciated how each of the presented technologies — H5P branching scenarios (Grymaloski et al., 2021), Discord (Joubert et al., 2021), and Video-Based Learning (Koval et al., 2021) — introduced me to new angles and considerations I had not previously considered. Due to my prior experience using Slack and Microsoft Teams as a learning technology, I was particularly interested Team 4’s presentation on Discord as a tool to facilitate a Community of Inquiry (CoI) (Joubert et al., 2021). Outside of our cohort’s informal Discord server, I have not seen Discord used as an educational communication tool and I was eager to see Discord’s educational functionality in action.

My current experience is with Microsoft Teams as my school’s required communication tool for all courses. The tool is somewhat like Discord in that it allows for text, voice, and video communication, multiple channels within a “server,” along with numerous other similarities. Our school uses Teams for synchronous video classes and text-based chat areas for general announcements and team communication, with each course having its own area in Teams which are set up by the school rather than the instructor. The way the team integrated Discord into the presentation provided an opportunity to see this similar technology used in a new way, but appeared to suffer from similar issues that I have experienced with Teams. The Discord server offered a strong structure for educational communication but was unable to provide a space for private communication outside of direct messages or a separate server. From my discussions with students, I have found that our Teams setup makes students feel somewhat monitored and unable to be completely open about their learning experience. As was discussed in the presentation, students benefit from the construction of their own social space which is difficult to have when they feel the teacher is reading their messages. In fact, I have found that students will sometimes set up their own Discord server to create a space for free and open communication.

This brings up something that seems to be a touchy subject for post-secondary education: giving students freedom. If students need space to communicate without feeling like the institution and teacher are watching, why do we not provide it? Could Discord or Teams provide students with a separate area (or areas), free from their teacher, that mimics the school coffee shop or pub (Keengwe et al., 2013)? This could show students that the educational institution trusts them to behave like adults and, if it is still under the jurisdiction of the school’s account, could have necessary information gathered if offensive behaviour occurred within the space. As Garrison et al. (1999) said, social presence should include “risk-free expression” (p. 102), and can that happen when an instructor is able to hover of their communication? I would really like to see these communication technologies — and the schools that use them — include a built-in space where students could communicate freely without instructor presence. My attempts to find examples of schools doing this turned up empty, which is quite frustrating. Yes, there would be challenges, but isn’t that the cost of treating people like adults?


Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (1999). Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.

Grymaloski, W., Dougan, S., Guichon, P., & Norum, S. (2021, May 11). Critical Analysis of H5P Branching Scenario Simulations. MALAT Webspace.

Joubert, J.-P., Rowe, C., Tran, V., & Yu, E. (2021, May 12). Team 4 Presentation: Implementing a Community of Inquiry using Discord. MALAT Webspace.

Keengwe, J., Adjei-Boateng, E., & Diteeyont, W. (2013). Facilitating active social presence and meaningful interactions in online learning. Education and Information Technologies, 18(4), 597–607.

Koval, D., Senini, A., Carpenter, J., & Beebe, K. (2021, May 14). Assignment 1: Critical Inquiry Part 2 – Team Awesomest Presentation. MALAT Webspace.

MacKay, M., Piechnik, D., Stoesz, R., Nix, C.-H., & Ruth, S. (2021, May 11). LRNT 526 | Assignment 2 | Part 2 | Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education. MALAT Webspace.