What is Discord? 

Discord is an application much like Teams or Zoom; a way for people to come together in groups. It has a chat function, as well as voice and video call capabilities. While originally it was a good gathering place for those who were playing online multiplayer video games, it has exploded to draw all sorts of people and interests on the platform. You can use the application through an internet browser or have the application downloaded to your PC &/or mobile phone. 

It is available on Apple, Microsoft, and Linux devices, both desktop and mobile. 


Why do students or faculty use Discord? 

Several students have been using discord prior to online classes so for them there is a sense of familiarity within the program. In terms of safety and security Discord does have the “Add a friend” context you can use or if you want a larger collaborative space without adding many people, Discord offers people a way to do so. 

You can create personal “Channels” within Discord. You, as the owner/creator of the Channel, could make it a public or private channel. With a private channel, people cannot join unless they have an invitation link in which to join.  

Within your channel, you can make ‘sub’ channels within your space. For example, you can have a channel going for people to exchange story ideas or test prep talk. If students or faculty wish to have groups talk and converge in smaller groups, the Channel Admin/creator can have a place just for those group members to talk and plan without anyone else seeing it as well. You can also create ‘sub’ video and voice channels for those group members to talk. 

Still, want everyone to collaborate in the larger/full class? You can have people on that video and voice chat as well. It is highly customizable for users. 

study group example

[Above] (This is an example study group one created)

What features does Discord have that are like Zoom/Teams?

Zoom/Team Similarities:

  • Share screen enabling so a presenter can share a document or desktop with others within the video call
  • Video and voice call capabilities
  • Can change nicknames within channel as needed
  • Chat function active during a video/voice call
  • But unlike Zoom this is kept in the channel and can be read over again
    • This is similar to Teams where this is all kept within a chat or started thread
  • Your accounts have no time limit on video calls (like Teams and PRO Zoom accounts)

Zoom/Teams Differences:

  • No calendar/scheduling function within the Channels (can be customized and done with a little more comfort and technical skill)
    • Just give students/friends a heads up for when class time to have them join the meetings
  • No breakout rooms that can be done in meetings (or period, people will have to either go to separate channels or calls if you want to separate your bigger group)
  • Discord will not be connected to your students' ULeth email (if they have an account prior) nor is there a way for IT to help track your students in this way
  • Discord can be highly customized depending on who is using the program for what
  • Cannot put a background for video calls like on Zoom or Teams
  • Is not supported by the Teaching Centre or IT at the University

The video quality of Discord far outclasses Zoom and Teams.

Why Discord Is The Best Place To Talk and Hang Out

Discord (Getting Started Portal)

Discord is a great and helpful app to use but it is NOT one that can be directly supported by the Teaching Centre. The University does have several technologies and programs we are able to help with and support.