Create an Online Icebreaker Discussion

Create an Online Icebreaker Discussion

Have students share experiences, images, and videos. Canvas makes it easy to add video and images in discussions.

The great thing is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel with ice breakers. Several ice breakers have been shared on the Canvas Commons. Create one icebreaker topic for about every 5-10 students. Choice is essential. (e.g., if you have 130 students in an online course, create 15 icebreakers so any one thread is not too “crowded,” 25 students, create 5-6 icebreakers).

Example Directions

Directions for students:

  • Complete at least ONE online icebreaker. Go inside this forum to view the icebreakers. Your initial post should be at least two paragraphs. This is a chance to get “warmed up” in terms of writing so do not be brief here.
  • Try to include a multi-media element (optional) such as a link, picture, or screenshot of a Google Map (if you are doing “Location, Location, Location”).
  • Explain and also respond to other posting(s) in the Icebreaker thread you chose!

Example Ice Breakers

As the instructor post a few options for students to choose from. To connect you with your students, share your response within each of the icebreaker topics.

14 Ice Breaker Examples

  1. Bucket List. For this icebreaker, share what is on your top five “bucket list” of things you want to do and get accomplished in life! Share your list and why you selected what you did for each item on the list!
  2. What is your Dream Job? How does this course connect you to that job? Can you locate a job ad that matches your dream job? If so, please also post the link! Describe how you can prepare for this dream job!
  3. Six-Word-Memoir. Describe your life in six words and then explain your self in a more detailed two paragraph description! [*Google “Six Word Memoir” in both the web and in “Images” to find examples of other people’s six word memoirs!]. Feel free to use a Word Cloud (e.g., Wordle) or put your text in front of an image using a photo editing app or website. Describe your six-word memoir in several paragraphs and tell us a bit more about YOU beyond the six words!
  4. “Location, Location, Location” [Places Lived]. What cities have you lived in? What was the best thing about living in each of these places? Feel free to include pictures! Include at least 2-3 places. If you wish, include a map with an arrow showing where you have lived.
  5. Movie or Song (Soundtrack of your Life). What movie or song summarizes who you are? Include a link to either lyrics or a YouTube video of the song (if it’s a song) or a link to a movie site (e.g., IMBD) describing the movie. Why did you pick this? What genre is the song and/or movie?
  6. Purpose and Passion. What are you passionate about in life and in work? Make a list of these. Share and elaborate upon these.
  7. People who Blog or a Twitter! Do you have a blog to share with us? Do you have a blog? Even if you don’t post often, feel free to share your blog (or blogs if you have more than one) link here (be sure it hyperlinks by clicking the link button and inserting the link).
  8. Pets! Do you have a pet. past or present? Share pictures and let us know about your pet(s)! Tell us about how your pet(s) came into your life. If you don’t have a pet – what pet would you want to have?
  9. What are You Reading? List What you are Reading What are you reading? Share some titles and authors of your favorite books! What genres do you generally prefer, as a reader? Feel free to use a list. Explain your book choices in detail! Feel free to add links to the author’s website. You can focus on children’s/YA books or books you are reading (personal and/or professional). If you wish, add quotes by your favorite writer(s).
  10. Major Turning Point(s)! What has been a major positive turning point in your life? There might be more than one turning point…
  11. Who I Admire Who do you admire most? Why do you admire them? It can be someone from your “real life” or it can be someone you have never met or even someone from history that has passed on already. Please share your list! Feel free to include images or a link (e.g., to an inspiring video). You can list more than one person! I encourage you to try these in your class, whether it’s face-to-face and supplemented by a learning management system, a blended/hybrid format, or if you are teaching online! I hope to continue to tweak these and encourage students to add multi-media!
  12. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (Travel Adventures).  Are any of you travelers? Tell us about a journey (or two!) that you have been on, whether it was a simple local day trip, staycation, or world journey! Feel free to post any pictures in your short narrative. Be detailed and descriptive in your write-up!
  13. Dream Home and/or Dream Car (or Both!) What is your dream home? What is your dream car? What style and decorating themes best suit your interior design themes? Do you have home decorating tips? What car style do you like? Feel free to describe either or both!
  14. Beautiful Moments. “What is your most beautiful moment in life”? What has been a “beautiful moment” in your life? It can be literal (e.g., a breathtaking view) or symbolic (e.g., life event). You can write about more than one beautiful moment in your post!



Create an Online Icebreaker Discussion, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Create an Online Icebreaker Discussion, is a derivative of Building social community in an online course through online icebreakers! blog post developed by P. Semington retrieved (April 27, 2020) from