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.
  • 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.

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 discussion announcements.

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.


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.

Using Discussion Announcements With Your Followers

Discussion announcements 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, discussion announcements 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 discussion announcement to your followers from your teacher profile.



You can use discussion announcements to announce new classes to your followers, like Top Teacher Gia Graham.

Best Practices for Engaging Discussions

Here are a few ideas for making the most out of discussions with your students or followers.

Post a Welcome Message

After publishing your class, post a “welcome” message as a new class discussion post to thank students for joining and to let them know that you’re available to answer questions that come up along the way.


In Art School Boot Camp I: Drawing Compelling Compositions, Top Teacher Christine Nishiyama posts a welcome message as the first post in her class.

Pose Open-ended Questions to Spark Discussion

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, you can use discussion announcements to ask your followers for their opinions, such as what class topic you should teach next, or which of your draft designs they like better.

Share Resources

Use discussions to share articles or links with your students. Students appreciate relevant and timely content that complements your class lessons and can be a way to point followers back to older classes.

Make Announcements

Students who enjoy learning from you are eager to hear from you directly! You can use class discussions to announce new bonus material within the class or let your previous students know when you are launching a new, related class on Skillshare.

For Class Discussions or Discussion Announcements, check the Email all students box before clicking the Post button to ensure your students will also see your announcement in their email inbox.

Check In Regularly to Answer Questions

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


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

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