Learning Centered Technology

Technology for the Educator

Active Learning in Blackboard: Debates

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With Debates, students are assigned to debate teams, given a position to defend, and then asked to present arguments in support of their position. The opposing team has an opportunity to rebut the argument. Each teach is given an opportunity to rebuttal the argument. This format is useful in developing argumentation skills (in addition to teaching content).

Debating in a classroom engages students, provides an opportunity to create both student and faculty feedback, and promotes preparedness for students. Participation will encourages dialogue among students and develop speaking skills

Blackboard Role Playing Activity

The way to begin a debate is to divide the class into groups, pro and con. Each group will be given a topic and a position. This can be done through the Groups tool in blackboard. (see my post Active Learning in Blackboard: Jigsaw Group Projects.)

Once the teams have had time to prepare for the debate a timeframe is set for the debate. The instructor can choose the format of the debate. The easiest way to debate online in through one of many online debate sites. My favorites are http://www.debate.org/ and http://www.edeb8.com/.


Debate allows you to create debates, opinions, and polls.

Debate Website

Debate Website

The debate format is set up with rounds. The rounds are color coded as a visual clue for the round.

Color Coded Rounds

Color Coded Rounds

Users can vote on the winning debater as well as the reasons they made the decision.

Debate Voting

Debate Voting


Edeb8.com is similar to debate.org in that you can create a debate and the rounds are color coded.

Edeb8 Color Coding

Edeb8 Color Coding

Users can judge and respond to the debate as well as make comments.

Edeb82 Comments

Edeb82 Comments

In the end, it is easy to identify the winner.

Edeb83 Voting

Edeb83 Voting


Written by Dr. Sherri E. Ritter

December 7, 2015 at 9:00 am

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