Call for Participation: Reimagine online discussion with

Call for Participation

CATE invites UIC instructors to submit a request to participate in a pilot program to Reimagine Online Discussion using, a new discussion tool. is intended to improve the current Blackboard discussion board by providing additional functionality, including easier grading and feedback, and a more friendly user interface.

Instructors who participate in this pilot will have the opportunity to reflect on how the tool enriched discussions in their courses, and provide feedback on the tool’s functionality as well as its impact on the teaching and learning experiences of students.

How can be used in the pilot? is designed for teaching to:

  • Emphasize qualitative assessment.
  • Improve student analytical skills.
  • Maximize student-to-student interactions.
  • Reward properly articulated ideas.

Instructors participating in the pilot can address one or several of the following approaches:

  • Develop skills and competencies as an instructor in introducing asynchronous discussion in their courses.
  • Develop the technological, cognitive, professional and social competencies in students that include deep discussions.
  • Increase student engagement and participation through online discussion.
  • Evaluate the functionality of to help the university decide its adoption and to influence further improvement and development of the tool.

What will instructors do? 

Instructors will participate in this pilot in the summer 2022 or fall 2022 semesters. They will work with an instructional designer at CATE to integrate into their course prior to the start of the semester. During the term, they will be asked to observe and reflect on how has impacted online discussion and students’ learning experiences. At the end of the semester, instructors will also collaborate with CATE on creating an innovation vignette or video sharing their experiences using the tool in their course. A survey will be conducted at the end of the semester to gather feedback regarding functionality.

How will CATE support instructors? 

  • License to use
  • Training in the use of
  • Consultation with an instructional designer to guide your efforts on integrating into your course (e.g., creating discussion questions, facilitating discussions, etc.).
  • Support to create an innovation vignette or video featuring how you have used in your course and its outcomes to share with the UIC teaching community.
  • Instructors will receive a one-time $500 payment as part of their time commitment to the pilot, including the evaluation of the tool and the development of an innovation vignette or video.


  • Instructors already familiar with Blackboard’s discussion board who are teaching courses in any discipline during the summer or fall term are eligible to apply for participation in this pilot program.


  • The pilot program will take place over the summer of 2022 with up to 1,000 students enrolled in summer courses, and in fall 2022 with up to 2,000 students.

Application Process

Please submit a request using the application form.

  • Submit by April 17 for the summer cohort.
  • Submit by July 25 for the fall cohort.

Selection Process

There is limited space to participate in this pilot; if demand exceeds the capacity, instructors will be selected by the Instructional Technology Innovation subcommittee from the ITLC Educational Technology Committee based on number of students and discipline. Instructors will be informed on the status of their request via email the week following the application’s deadline.

For more information, contact the Center for the Advancement of Teaching Excellence’s learning technology team at

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