Discussion is a valuable pedagogy in social constructivism. According to Laurillard (2012), "peer discussion [is] an important mechanism for learning" involving the "reciprocal critique of ideas, [which] leads to the development of a more elaborated conceptual understanding" (pp. 141 - 142). Discussions have been a central feature of most of the courses I have taken at Santa Clara, in one of two forms. The first is Learning through Discussion/Literature Circles. These occur in class, following the reading of articles or book chapters assigned as homework. One student will prepare a handout to guide a small group or small class discussion. As a leader, this student demonstrates an expertise on the chapter or research article. Generally included in the handout is a summary of the text, key terms or vocabulary words, important quotations, connections to other readings, and probing discussion questions. Every student in the group participates, and the experiences, ideas, analyses, and opinions always make for rich conversations. In one class, Advanced Theory and Practice of Science Teaching and Learning, this practice went a step further and we followed up on the in-class discussions with reflections. Because we are engaged in assessing contributions to the education field from authors and researchers and the methodologies and practices in the field, LTDs and LCs relate to a Degree Qualification within Specialized Knowledge.
The second form takes place through the Camino discussion forums, in two of my education technology courses. This part of the weekly assignments enhances the learning experience by pushing us to think more critically about what we read, and how our readings connect to the core ideas, topics, and themes of the course. Every week, there is a discussion thread posted by the instructor, and at least one thread created by a student in the class. Though only the questions and responses from the instructor’s threads are included in this ePortfolio, having student-generated discussions is critical for student-centered learning, and the ideas posed are always thought-provoking. Oftentimes, we reflect on our own work in the education field, and address questions through lenses of our own professional practices or personal experiences. This relates to a Degree Qualification within Broad, Integrative Knowledge.
Presented in this section are the Learning through Discussion handouts (and reflections) for EDUC 465 and EDUC 470, the Literature Circle handouts for EDUC 449 and EDUC 466, and Camino discussion questions and responses for EDUC 420 and EDUC 492.
 Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a design science. Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. New York: Routledge