• The discussion leader sign-up spreadsheet is here.
  • The discussion insight form is here.


This is a seminar course, so your active, creative, and positive participation in class discussion is absolutely critical to the success of the course. I have designed the incentives of the course to scaffold your success as a discussion participant. Each week, you will be responsible for the following:

  • Successfully taking a (very basic) reading quiz on the week’s readings.
  • Submitting a list of at least three novel insights you gained through discussion in class using this form.
    • This must be submitted by two days following the day of discussion.


The Importance of Discussion Leadership

Being the discussion leader in a seminar course is a critically important role, and this importance is reflected in the prominence of discussion leadership in our course’s grading structure. Success as a discussion leader leads to individual rewards – e.g. command of the week’s material at a unique depth – but also substantially improves the experience of your colleagues in the course. Failure as a discussion leader… Well, that leads to the opposite of both the former and the latter.

Your Tasks as a Discussion Leader

I have designed this course to have a series of scaffolds to facilitate your success as a discussion leader. These scaffolds manifest into the following tasks:

  • Due as soon as possible: Form a discussion team and pick a topic.
  • Due 2 weeks ahead of your discussion week (Wed.): Put together a “Discussion Plan” that contains the following information:
    • A list of additional material you plan to cover in your Wednesday presentation (Should be at least 3+ additional “paper units”).
    • At least 5 discussion questions
    • Your plan for “Solution Friday” or “Activity Friday”
    • Come into office hours to discuss the plan.
    • Note: Prof. Hecht will handle the reading quiz.
  • Due 1 week ahead of time: Finalize your “Discussion Plan” with input from Prof. Hecht. For example, I might ask you make the following types of changes:
    • Add some additional reading/information to your opening presentation
    • Optimize your plan for Friday’s activities
    • Suggest new discussion question
  • Your discussion week
    • Deliver a 20-30 min presentation for Wednesday
    • Lead discussion on Wednesday
    • Lead activities (reading + discussion OR class activity) on Friday