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Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Parlay?

Parlay started 8 years ago as an educational technology provider. Our award winning discussion-based learning platform has helped nearly 100,000 teachers and over 1 million students around the world have meaningful, measurable, and inclusive class discussions.


However, our vision for education has always extended beyond simply building technology. We believe that our discussion framework, assessment protocols, questioning techniques, and instructional technology platform should be leveraged to transform virtual learning for the 21st Century. We created Parlay Seminars to bring this vision to life and help prepare students for a prosperous and fulfilling future. Learn more about Our Philosophy.

2. How much does a Parlay Seminar cost?

Each Parlay Seminar costs between $80 and $120 per student. This typically includes 7-8 total hours of synchronous virtual class discussions and 5 written asynchronous discussions over 5 weeks. Register for on of our upcoming cohorts.

If you represent a group of students and would like the Parlay Seminars team to host a private cohort (max 12 students per cohort), the fee is $1,000 to prepare, administer, facilitate, and assess the whole experience. Request a Private Cohort.

3. How is it different from a book club?

We love book clubs, but Parlay Seminars are quite different. Book clubs are typically informal, unstructured, and students are not assessed on their participation or skill development. Parlay Seminars are designed with an explicit discussion-based pedagogy, a learning experience that teaches fundamental human skills, and corresponding assessment protocols. They are designed (like a book club) to create an engaging social learning environment and to foster a love of reading. However, unlike book clubs, Parlay Seminars are also designed to help students develop a wide range of critical thinking, argumentation, and communication skills. They achieve this through consistent and effortful participation in student-driven academic discussions - similar to a traditional Liberal Arts College.

4. Are Parlay Seminars accredited?

Parlay Seminars are not formally "accredited" courses. However, each course is closely aligned to the Common Core Standards for College and Career Readiness. Furthermore, every English class in Middle and High School includes novel study (typically, one or two novels per semester). If you are building an English / Language Arts course plan for your students, think of a Parlay Seminars Cohort as a large "unit" which covers one novel and has substantial requirements for writing, speaking, peer feedback, and argumentation.

5. How much effort will it be?

Students should expect about 4 hours per week of total cumulative learning time (including reading, writing, and verbal seminar participation) for a period of 4 to 6 weeks. There will be a 30 minute introductory session to discuss expectations, and answer any student questions before the course begins.

6. How will students be assessed?

Students will be assessed exclusively on their participation in both written and verbal discussions. Instructors will evaluate how they demonstrate specific skills and provide weekly feedback. At the end of the course, students will be assigned a Level 1, 2, or 3 by the instructor. Learn more about our Assessment and Accreditation.

7. How is this different from other online courses?

Most online courses focus on ensuring students comprehend and remember information in the curriculum. They are usually organized into "self-paced" modules where students watch videos and complete work independently. Any live classes are usually teacher-driven instruction with minimal / ad-hoc opportunity for student-led discussion. Parlay Seminars are the opposite in just about every way. Learn more about our Course Design.

8. What technology will they need?

Students will need a laptop, Chromebook, or standard sized iPad that runs an updated version of Google Chrome or Safari. Their device needs to have a camera and microphone (or headphones!) They will need wifi access that is fast enough to run a video conference like Zoom or Google Meets.

9. How do we get a copy of the book?

The cohort instructor will send an Amazon link to purchase the specific edition of the book that you will be using for the course. If you have another edition and would prefer to use that copy, you may do so. However, please keep in mind that this may affect the accuracy of page references during the class discussions.

10. How do I know my student is ready for this?

In our experience, almost all students within the recommended age ranges are "ready" for a Parlay Seminar Course. Of course, all students are reading, writing, and speaking at different levels. In addition, we do not organize by grade level and often have 13 year olds and 17 year olds in the same cohort. Some students are more introverted and prefer the writing and listening aspects of the course, while others love to speak. There is room (and a need) for all types of students in a Parlay Seminar. In addition, the instructor gives personalized feedback each week which will often encourage quieter students to speak up and more outgoing students to listen and even encourage others to contribute. Try it out, if you don't like it after the first two weeks, the student can leave the course and we will offer a full refund.

11. What data will you be collecting?

We will be collecting student names, profile images (optional), and email addresses. In addition, all student contributions, teacher feedback, and assessment data for the course will be stored on Parlay.

12. Is their data safe?

Yes, Parlay takes data privacy and security very seriously. Each year, we go through a top-down audit from an independent third party to ensure that we are compliant with FERPA, COPPA, and CSPC regulatory standards. We are also signatories of the Student Privacy Pledge.

Interested in joining?

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

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