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Course Design

A fun, social, and high-impact learning experience.

The main value of Parlay Seminars is the structure. At first I thought it might be artificial but once I saw the depth of dialogue, I knew it was really well done. My son has never had such deep conversations or a place to practice these skills.

Course Structure

Seminars are 4 to 6 weeks. Each week has the same discussion workflow, and builds on ideas explored the previous week.

Class Setup

Maximum of 12 students per seminar, with one instructor to facilitate, provide feedback and assess student participation.

Course Content

Learning is centered on enduring questions and themes of the great books, and connects them to the world around us.

Skills Assessment

No tests or essays. Students are given personal feedback based on their participation and skill development over time.

Instructional Methods

Students drive the learning while instructors facilitate. Open-ended questions lead to meaningful and rigorous group discussions.

Student Expectations

It's important for students to put in consistent effort in the course.  Students should commit about 4 to 5 hours of time per week.

Typical Week in a Parlay Seminar

Each week, students participate in a discussion-based learning experience that is modelled after the activities and cadence of a typical seminar course at a Liberal Arts college.




Sun - Mon (1 - 2 hours)

Initial Reading

1. Instructor invites students to the weekly discussion activity. 

2. Students read the assigned chapters of their novel.

3. Students review discussion question(s) and take notes.

Tues - Wed (1 - 2 hours)

Written RoundTable

1. Students write their ideas in response to the discussion question(s).

2. Optional: A.I. gives feedback on argument and writing composition.

3. Students edit their response and then submit it to the group.

4. Students read and comment on each others’ ideas and opinions.

5. Instructor gives feedback to students after Written RoundTable.

Thurs - Fri (1 - 2 hours)

Verbal RoundTable

1. Students review follow-up questions and take notes before the seminar.

2. Group explores follow-up questions in a structured synchronous dialogue.

3. Instructor facilitates and guides as students lead the discussion.
4. The group reflects on engagement data from the Verbal RoundTable.

5. Instructor gives feedback to students after seminar ends.

Repeat 4 to 6 weeks.

Purpose-Built Technology

Over 100,000 teachers and 1,000,000 students use Parlay's discussion platform in their classrooms. Here's how the core components of that platform are used in a Parlay Seminar:

Written RoundTable

Written RoundTable
The place where students review questions and write their opening arguments and reflections. Each student has a random “secret identity” so the discussion is focused on the ideas, not the messenger. Students respond to “guided feedback questions” when critiquing other responses, ensuring thoughtful dialogue from the outset.

Parlay Genie

Parlay Genie
Analyzes individual responses and provides feedback on opening argument coherence and writing composition. It also analyzes the entire Written RoundTable and generates follow-up questions for the upcoming Verbal RoundTable.

Verbal RoundTable

A video-based discussion that is facilitated by a trained instructor. Students “Tap In” to contribute: New Idea, Build On, Challenge, or Question. The queue helps structure the dialogue, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to contribute. Instructors make observations, ask probing questions, and intervene when necessary.

Verbal RoundTable
Student Reports

Reporting & Assessment
Parlay automatically tracks participation inside of the Written and Verbal RoundTable activities. When coupled with instructor assessment, this gives us trending information about student engagement and skill development during a Parlay Seminar course. Better data means better feedback, faster skill building, and clear proof of learning and development.

Interested in joining?

Click below to browse and register for our upcoming seminar cohorts.

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