Socratic Seminar Online with Meta Blogging

The image above contains a chart that details how a face to face Socratic seminar could be enhanced by having an outer ring of students blogging synchronously with the conversation.

The seminar would have an inner ring of students taking part in the face to face discussion. On the outer ring, seven students equipped with laptops would be blogging about the conversation.

Here are the roles of the outer ring students:

1. Process Summarizer
This student blogs about how the process of the seminar is moving along. Comments can include analysis of the group dynamic and recognition of what kind of energy there is in the room as the discussion flows from one topic to the next. This is a challenging role that involves higher order thinking. The blogger should be dealing with questions such as: Is the order of the questions effectively soliciting ideas? Could the flow of the discussion be improved in some way -- either by the content or delivery of the questions? What kind of group dynamic is forming as a result of the questions?

2. Content Summarizer
This student blogs about the questions being posed and the ideas being generated in the discussion. Twitter would be a good tool for this, but it could easily be done on blogger or any blogging platform.

3. Image Collector
This student scours the Internet for images that are relevant or evocative of the discussion. They compile the best images and post them to the class blog.

4. Question Generator
This student listens carefully to the discussion and writes questions that are suggested by the conversation. Questions should be developed to dig deeper than the current conversation is permitting.

5. Link Generator
This student scours the Internet for useful websites that are relevant or evocative of the discussion. The compile a list and create hyperlinks to these sites.

6. Video Generator
This student scours the Internet for useful videos that are relevant or evocative of the discussion. The compile a list and create hyperlinks to these videos.

7. Project Manager
This student walks the outer ring and checks in with each blogger, troubleshooting problems and doing quality control.

8. Teacher
The teacher runs the inner circle discussion.

Depending on the length of the seminar and the familiarity the students have with the roles, students can be asked at certain intervals to switch seats and move from the inner ring to the outer ring, or vice versa.


  1. This sounds like a really great discussion format. For fully online courses I imagine the same sort of thing could be accomplished by having the inner ring discussion participants communicating with all the others via traditional webinar software or Google Hangout.-Brook

  2. I think this form of discussion is great because it has a great deal of student accountability. Since each student has a clear role in the discussion and others are looking to them for information, it makes sure that everyone is participating regularly. - Elyce

  3. This looks pretty cool! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks for the information, I was looking for something like this.


What do you think?