Pilot “Teachly” for More Inclusive Classroom Discussions

Teacher leading discussion in small classroom
Image from ILSC Education Group, http://bit.ly/2iW4PJY, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (http://bit.ly/OJZNiI)

Learning Innovation is offering one faculty member at Duke the chance to pilot “Teachly,” a new tool developed and used at Harvard. Teachly provides an easy-to-use interface for gathering data about who is participating in your class, to allow you to see patterns in participation and encourage more balanced and inclusive class discussions. For more information, see below and this EdSurge article.

If you’d like to participate in the pilot, you must have a Teaching Assistant or other classroom assistant who can gather data in the interface. We suggest that Teachly would be most useful in a medium-sized class (20+ students). If you’d like to participate, please contact learninginnovation@duke.edu.


How does Teachly work? Here’s a short video explaining how Teachly works. Partners for the pilot will be supported by the Teachly team and given training guides to explain how to use the application and gain insights. 

What’s required to use Teachly? Teachly relies on a teaching assistant to record classroom participation in the Teachly app during each session. The software is easy to use and designed to reduce the friction of data entry.

What time commitment is involved? Ideally, as a professor, you would spend about 1 hour or so at the beginning, and then about 10-20 minutes per week to use its insights to teach more effectively and inclusively. Typically, a course assistant logs participation data during each class session.

Why use Teachly? Below are some testimonials on experience using Teachly. More testimonials are available here.


“Until you use Teachly, it is almost impossible to be self-aware of your classroom habits and, yes, unconscious biases. Before each class I looked at the data from Teachly to help me identify the students I wanted to get to participate that day. Walking into the classroom with this list nudged me to be more patient and bring new voices into the discussion. Instead of calling on one of the first, familiar hands that popped up, I kept my targets in mind, ensuring that the quieter students, or those who started out less confident in their views, enriched our debates.Teachly was particularly useful in helping me achieve relative gender equity in the discussions. To my faculty colleagues who want to teach better and more inclusively, I strongly encourage you to use Teachly.”
– Samantha Power, Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School; and Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations (2013-2017).

“Teachly has been an amazing source for me. I thought I was pretty good at getting robust class participation but having the actual data presented has been an eye opener to the many blind spots I had. It has also been an excellent nudge for me – I don’t like getting “reds” – and as a result I now am far more conscious about waiting those extra few seconds to call on a person who would add diversity to the classroom discussion.” 
Asim Khwaja, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School

Amy Kenyon

Author: Amy Kenyon

Amy plans, implements and assesses faculty development programs for the improvement of teaching and learning, provides programs and resources designed to increase understanding of the teaching and learning process and manages personnel and other resources in the Teaching Innovation group of Learning Innovation. Her interests are in student-centered course and program design, curriculum mapping, assessment and engaging teaching strategies for student learning.