Facilitate Discussions

Increase engagement by using some of the platform’s built-in tools to communicate with your students and followers.

In this article:


Answering student questions can be a great way to boost engagement in your class. And posting feedback on projects can motivate your students to keep learning. Hear some tips regarding both engagement strategies from Top Teacher Ohn Mar Win and Gio Vescovi (artsygio) in this lesson from Teach on Skillshare: Plan, Publish, and Promote an Engaging Class.


Know Your Audiences: Students and Followers

As a teacher, you cultivate two different kinds of audiences on Skillshare:

  • A student is any member who is currently enrolled in your class — or in other words, has watched beyond the first lesson, or introduction, in that specific class. You can use a class discussion to communicate with students within a class; review the section Using Class Discussions With Your Students in this article to learn more.
  • A follower is a user who has actively followed your profile on Skillshare, generally to stay in the loop on your activities on Skillshare. Each follower receives an automatic notification each time you publish a new class, unless they have unsubscribed to stop receiving these notifications from you. You can send a general discussion from your teacher profile to communicate with your followers; review the section Using General Discussions With Your Followers in this article to learn more.

Keep in mind that for each teacher there might be overlap between these audiences, or none. You may have students from a class that may follow you as well, and the same group of students may not necessarily be the same from class to class. It’s important to keep this in mind when sharing (and emailing!) discussion-based content within classes or from your teacher profile. Rather than posting the same information in every class and from your profile, consider:

  • What information would be most valuable to each group, and
  • When you send it to ensure you get the most impact and not overwhelm your audience.

Read on to learn specific ideas on what content to share through class discussions or general discussions.

Using Class Discussions With Your Students

Class discussions are a way for students to ask questions, chat with each other, and share tips and resources within your class. The more students collaborate with one another, the more enriching their class experience becomes! As a teacher, you can use this space to spark engagement with your students through discussion questions or prompts, by calling out student projects you love, by casually chatting with your students, or by posting your own tips or resources.

Head to How do I post a discussion in my class or to my followers? for step-by-step instructions on how to post a discussion in your class.

Using General Discussions Announcements With Your Followers

General discussions work similarly to class discussions but instead of communicating with students within a single class, you are sending a message to the Skillshare community members that follow your profile. For that reason, general discussions are a great tool to augment your teacher brand, share updates about upcoming classes, or announce giveaways.

Head to How do I post a discussion in my class or to my followers? for step-by-step instructions on how to post a general discussion to your followers from your teacher profile.

For class discussions or general discussions, check the Email all students box before clicking the Post button to ensure your students or followers will also see your general discussion in their email inbox.

Best Practices for Engaging Discussions

Make the most out of discussions by following these best practices.

Share Discussions that Add Value

To help you connect with your students and followers, it helps if you’re offering them content that complements what you teach and is useful to where they are in their learning journey. Some ideas:

  • Link to a supplemental or bonus resource that complements the class or class project, such as a free or open source resource, or a relevant article.
  • Talk about classes on Skillshare that you’ve been enjoying lately, and why they are relevant to your practice or what you teach.
  • Loop your students in on changes in your discipline. If the software you teach recently launched an upgrade, share it out and talk about the pros and cons of the new version. Or maybe you’re excited about a new line of paints or a particular sketchbook — either way, students who enjoy learning from you are eager to hear from you directly!

Pose Open-ended Questions

People love to talk about themselves! Find ways to pose questions that link the class content to your students’ personal lives or experiences — bringing in diverse perspectives is a great way to invigorate a class community. Alternatively, use discussions to ask your students for their opinions, such as what class topic you should teach next, or which of your draft designs they like better.

Make it Personal

Discussions don’t always need to be promotional. From time to time, use discussions to find ways to connect with your audience and build community around what you teach. You could prompt your students or followers around a goal-setting exercise, or share something that’s meaningful to you.

Share Timely Information

Use class discussions to announce new bonus material within the class or let your previous students know when you are launching a new class on Skillshare. You might also structure a post around a seasonal theme or shared event. For example, if you teach a class on card making, you might consider sending a general discussion to your followers about revisiting your class to make a card to celebrate the season, no matter what holiday tradition they observe.

Keep in mind that anyone who follows your profile on Skillshare automatically receives an email when you publish a new class. Rather than manually sending a general discussion right after launching a class, consider shifting your strategy to maximize engagement with your audience, such as waiting a week or two to post a round up of student projects or reviews from the class.

Check In Regularly

Check in every 1-2 days to reply to unanswered student questions with your helpful tips and insights.

To help with managing student and class activity, if there is activity across any of your classes you’ll receive a class activity report, sent by email. This email provides a link to the Student Activity page in the Teacher Hub, which tracks all activity, including class discussions and replies, new projects, updated projects, and project feedback, across your account.

Discussion Examples



In Art School Boot Camp I: Drawing Compelling Compositions, Top Teacher Christine Nishiyama posted a welcome message as the first post in her class. This is a great strategy to open the channels for conversation while the class is still fresh! And, letting your students know that you appreciate they took the time to take your class and that you’re available to answer questions can set the tone for the class as well.



Starting a personal conversation can often yield higher (and more meaningful) engagement than posts that are strictly promotional. As an example, Top Teacher Khadija El Sharawy posted a discussion about reflecting on the past year, sharing her own answers and prompting her followers to do the same.



Top Teacher Sarah Beth Morgan used a general discussion to showcase and comment on some outstanding student work in one of her classes. It’s a great strategy to point your followers back to an older class and give a shoutout to your students!



In this example from The Style Class: Work Out Your Illustration Style in a Daily Project, Top Teacher Tom Froese uses a class discussion post with some further instructions for his students. In your own classes, you can pin important posts to the top of the Discussions tab so students don’t miss them.

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