Anonymity – online discussions

In CTIL, whether it’s via a Help4U call, someone coming to a drop-in, or a chance conversation, we’re often asked “How can I enable an anonymous space for discussion” 

Students have always wanted ways to ask questions anonymously, often due to a (usually incorrect) view that staff would view them badly for asking a “silly question”. Those of us who were students in the pre-internet days may remember the tutor who thoughtfully left a tray at the front for questions you were too shy to ask. Both staff and students are used to anonymous feedback at the end of a module, and in using anonymity, or pseudonymity in many online locations. 

There are some studies that show that students like the security an anonymous option gives, which can give confidence to them then using their names in their contributions.  While you may want to use Mentimeter to allow students to give quick feedback in a live session, this doesn’t lend itself to discussion. 

We currently have 2 options that you could consider

  • Padlet lends itself quite readily to being used anonymously  – just make sure that you leave the attribution set to “Off” – it’s the default anyway. To encourage discussion, you can then enable comments. This is the easiest option. 
  • LearningSpaces – is a little more difficult to set up. However, if you already have a class blog, and you allow external (non-members) to comment on posts, you could use that. If you are interested in this option, contact Help4U to discuss it. 

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