Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Discord in a university STEM learning environment: collective learning

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

I use Discord a bit. It's a social platform that supports voice, instant messaging and file sharing. The model is similar to what I describe here that characterizes Slack and similar applications. There are different servers you can access, these have various types of contents (including live audio streams you can sometimes participate in). Discord was originally designed to help gamers communicate during games, and as a result the focus is quite different (as this article notes) from traditional education-centered social platforms. According to the authors, Discord is more in tune with students' needs and culture, supports anonymity, and "moments pass from a weekly intense periodic event to a moment that is part of a continuous learning process." But it takes some getting used to, especially if you're more familiar with traditional discussion and social media setups; this is reflected, I think, in the advice to "ensure there is no confusion as to what is the official channel of communication. Such platforms work ably as optional, but they carry the risk of absorbing all activity and excluding those who are not proficient in using it."

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 22, 2024 5:50 p.m.

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