Get the current RAID questions HERE


What Are They?

RAIDs are opportunities for students to participate in small discussion groups during mentor session.  The activity is meant to provide students with experience speaking before a small group in preparation for larger group presentations.  It is also a venue for students to listen to one another’s ideas and to engage in critical dialogue.  Another purpose of the RAIDs is to encourage students to keep up with the readings. A final purpose is to give you regular practice with writing and MLA formatting.


Generally, three to five RAID questions will be posted on Fridays, due for mentor class discussion the following week.

How Do They Work?

Read Critically:  Read the questions before tackling the reading so that you have a sense of what you are looking for.  In many cases, there will be no one “right” answer.  However, in no case will your unsubstantiated opinion suffice as a substitute for informed reflection on the actual reading.  As you are reading, either jot down notes or lightly pencil (or highlight) in the reading material.  Be sure to include material from the lecture guide and class.


Discussion Sheet:  Type up a brief response to each question.  You may use any response style you desire, such as a paragraph, a bulleted list, an outline, etc.  Keep in mind that the purpose of this typed discussion sheet is to aid you in leading and/or participating in discussion.  You should not read from your sheet.  

You will be turning this discussion sheet in for grading, as well. Therefore, you need to follow MLA format and use the writing checklist at  Bring the discussion sheet to mentor session when it is due.


Practice:  Because one purpose of the RAIDs is to give you experience in making presentations, you should practice presenting your responses and commenting about them.  Time yourself.  You may have only two or three minutes in which to present your response as a leader (even though you may be given five questions, you will be randomly selected to lead the discussion on just one of the questions).  Since you will be graded heavily on this presentation, it is crucial that you take whatever steps you can to prepare both the delivery of the response and the substance.  Please note that “I agree with the author and think this is pretty interesting” will not count as an actual response.


Even if you are not chosen to lead a RAID question, you will be expected to participate in discussion and you will be asked to turn in your discussion sheet. Students may be called on to lead a RAID more than once, so just because you’ve already had a turn does not mean you are off the hook for the rest of the term.  The process of student selection will truly be random.

What Happens in Class? 

During a RAID session, this is what will happen:

  1. The mentor will ask one student to begin as a "leader" for the discussion of one question (three to five questions may have been given).  
  2. The leader will initiate a discussion with the group by sharing his or her response to the question.  Remember, do not read from your discussion sheet; refer to it as needed.
  3. When the RAID leader is speaking, other students should be listening attentively and respectfully, taking notes if necessary (on a separate piece of paper).  There should be no interruptions while the leader is speaking.
  4. After two or three minutes, the mentor will call "time," and the leader then opens the discussion up to the rest of the mentor class, who may now ask questions, provide feedback, add their own comments, etc., but only about the present question.
  5. During this time, the mentor will be observing and evaluating discussion preparedness and behavior; it is up to the leader, however, to professionally and politely direct and control the open discussion about the question.   The leader should not monopolize the discussion once his or her first two or three minutes are over.
  6. After ten minutes or so of open discussion, the mentor will then assign a new leader to a new question, and discussion will proceed as above., in Steps 2-5. 
  7. Mentors will help facilitate students' getting through all of the questions during the mentor session period.
  8. In general, the role of the mentors is to facilitate the discussion and evaluate how individual students are leading and/or participating in discussions.  It is the professor's and mentor's hope that students will correct one another if they feel that questions have been misinterpreted.  However, the mentor may intervene if he or she feels that students are on the wrong track entirely, to help guide the discussion back to a more appropriate direction.


It might not seem like this now, but this activity should actually be fun.  Think of it as a party game…. (yeah, right)


Don’t worry:  We know you might be nervous and unsure about what to do in the beginning.  You’ll be guided through this gently and graded generously during the first few times.  The first session is practice only!  Relax and enjoy.

And remember:  The RAID discussions help form the foundation of your other work in the class (SECRETs, term papers, exams, etc.), so they serve the additional purpose of helping you understand the material from several perspectives.



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© 2006-2008, Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D.