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Frequently Asked Questions

How it Works

DiT is very flexible. The instructor determines the program's best use in the classroom. It is an ideal homework assignment if all of your students have access to a computer at home or a public computer. It can also be used during class time if there is access to in-class computers or a computer lab.

Yes, students can sign onto DiT through a regular desktop or laptop computer as well as any device, such as Chromebook or iPad, that has a supported web browser.

  • My Community
    News Feed—Students respond in-character to events that post over time
  • My Life
    Home Page—Characters' personal information and posts appear
  • My Profile
    Character Information—Includes facts such as education, family, personality traits and Why I'm Important
  • My Friends & Frenemies
    Relationships—Characterize the political relationships
  • Likes & Dislikes
    People, Places and Things—Determine the correct designation
  • My Events
    Create Relevant Events—Students create real or fictional events to forward the character's agenda
  • My Messages
    Private Messages—Characters wouldn't always want others to see their private communications

Throughout your DiT unit, events will appear over time on the My Community page. These include Headlines that provide an opportunity for students to make short in-character responses. In addition, Breaking News events are intermixed within the timeline. The Breaking News responses include links to original source documents, and student responses are meant to be more in-depth. Additionally, when possible, the Advertisements are original from the time period and some Headlines include links to original video or music clips.

Each class occupies a distinct, private online world. Therefore, it is not accessible to individuals who are not in the class. If you use a unit in multiple classes, students in one class do not have access to another.  

The exception to this is videos that can be opened in some advertisements and timeline events. If you would prefer that your students do not have that access, you can delete them on the instructor site. As much as we try to ensure security, like other internet sites, there is a chance that an unauthorized person could gain access to the information that you and your students have posted. If this happens, please notify us immediately.

No, the identities are private unless you or their fellow students reveal the information.

DiT units can be used for one week to a semester. During the initial setup you will be asked when you will begin and end using the program. That information will determine how many events will appear over time on the My Community page. After the setup is complete, you can remove some of the events if you think there are too many or if some are not relevant to your classes. A temporary stop can also be activated if needed. If you decide to end the unit on a different day, that option is also available.

You have access to the DiT unit and your students' work for one year after the initial set-up date. This provides time to review students' assignments and answer questions that may arise about a student's grade.

Demo Information

Yes, a one week free tour is available here. This free tour enables you to see how your students will use the program. Like the actual class product, the space you will enter is a private space that cannot be entered without proper access.

So that you can re-enter your private demo site, credentials will be emailed to you. That code will allow you to return to the unit for seven days as the same character that you have selected or as a different character. Feel free to share your credentials with several friends or colleagues, and they can log-in as a different character. This will provide a better feel for the interactive fun that your students will experience when they use DiT.

General Setup and Usage

DiT was created so that an instructor can simply complete the setup that asks questions such as student names and the length of time you will be using the program. DiT will randomly assign each student to a character. Events, which will provide an opportunity for student responses, will appear over time on the My Community page. Directions are provided, and students will be instructed to fill out their profile information and other activities such as identifying whether the other characters are their Friends or Frenemies. DiT is interactive, so students will also be expected to communicate in-character to their classmates through posts, private messages and other opportunities.

If you prefer to be more proactive in the setup, there are many opportunities within DiT to customize the program. For instance, if you would like to make your own character assignments, that feature is available.

Most units include about 30 to 40 characters. In some units, there are not 30 major characters. This happens most often in literary units. If that is the case, Discourse in Time (DiT) will sometimes include other relevant characters that aren’t actually part of the literature. For instance, while King Edward the Confessor isn't actually a character in The Tragedy of Macbeth, a student would be able to fill out his or her profile from known information and comment in-character to the events, messages and other discourse. Conversely, the unit might include a general merchant from that time period and the student would respond based on broad information.

Sometimes classes have more students than available characters. In that case, the class can be split into multiple groups. Student codes will be assigned as separate units and the characters will interact only with the students in their unit.

The program randomly assigns characters to students during the setup process. If you would like to change some or all of those assignments, that option is also available during the setup process. In addition, the option to change characters once the setup is complete is available. 

Each unit is available for one student's use for one semester. However, you will have access to your students' work for one year from the date of setup.

Yes. Your students are notified in the Student's Instructions that you can view all input. The View Student column on the overview matrix on your instructor's site gives you the ability to view each student's page.

Discourse has created a Black List containing some obviously inappropriate words. Words on that list will automatically be replaced by a series of asterisks if a student posts one of them. Instructors also have the ability to delete any post.

To be historically accurate students may be faced with the question of whether to use derogatory language that would be unacceptable in today's classroom. If this is in-character with the assigned role, the Student Instructions indicate that the comment must be an actual quote from the character, be placed within quotation marks, and cited with a link to the original comment. Some words, while authentic, may still be automatically replaced with a series of asterisks.

Students will fill in their My Profile page early in the unit. Since they will learn more about their characters as the unit progresses, they will continue to edit that page as warranted. In addition, students are told they may change their Likes and Dislikes, along with their friendship statuses as appropriate during the unit. However, the Student Instructions indicate that these categories will only be graded on the last day of the unit. Since the Likes and Dislikes and the friendship statuses are auto-graded, the instructions for those two pages cannot be changed by the instructor.

As written, the Student Instructions direct each student to print and turn in an End-of-Unit Report. The teacher can modify the Student Instructions so if you prefer to view their postings through the online Instructor's Reports you can change those directions.

If you need additional licenses while you are using a Discourse in Time (DiT) unit, go to and order additional student licenses.  You will receive an email from DiT.  Follow the directions in the email to log into your instructor account.  Once on the Instructor Site, go to the “You Are Working On” dropdown box and select the class to which you would like to add students.  There is a link near the top of the page that says, “To assign characters to students, add students or edit student information, Click Here.  Scroll down to the “Add Additional Students Here” title.

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