Moderator's Role

Who can be a Moderator

Members usually moderate study groups based on their areas of personal expertise or serious interest. Their primary role is to animate and facilitate the Study Group. Prior to making a study group proposal, the person should feel free to discuss the idea with their liaison or another member of the Curriculum Committee – i.e., scope and content of the proposed study group, learning objectives, methods of involving participants, their background in the subject, etc.

It is recommended that new members attend a few study groups before moderating on their own. The moderator must be a member in good standing, that is having attended at least one study group in the last year. If they are participating only in the study groups they are moderating, moderators are expected to be at least associate members.

View the Moderator’s Handbook

How to access the Athena Instructor Portal

Getting to know our moderators 

In recognition of the invaluable contribution that moderators bring to our community, in 2020 the MCLL Council requested a survey of this special group of volunteers — indeed, all moderators are members who volunteer their time and effort! The purpose was to inquire about their engagement in the MCLL community and especially to support the retaining and recruiting of moderators. The survey was designed to capture basic information about how active the respondents have been as moderators and the types of Study Groups they offer. Also, a few questions addressed how they experience moderating remotely via Zoom. To read about the survey findings, click the link below:

Moderator Survey Report

How to go about it

  • To focus attention on key issues, the moderator is strongly encouraged to contact participants by email a week or more in advance of the first session to elaborate on the description in the Calendar and distribute a suggested list of topics. Successful moderators often communicate regularly with members by email throughout the study group.
  • He/she can assist participants in defining a topic, searching for resources, suggesting readings or reference materials and preparing their presentations.
  • In encouraging group discussion, the moderator, as group leader, should bring out shy people, prevent any one person from dominating discussion, discourage private conversations and solicit give and take without arousing hostility. Treating everyone equally is of paramount importance.
  • Participant Presentation is a key element of MCLL Peer Learning concept.

In promoting participant participation, the moderator can use a variety of tools, some of which are mentioned hereunder:

Different ways to ask for participation:

  1. Give a presentation, written or power point
  2. Choose a YouTube clip for discussion
  3. Send out questions to participants beforehand to be answered in class
  4. Prepare a statement /question to be discussed in class


Study Group Type:

Discussion group

Participants look at works of art, read books or magazine articles, watch movies or videos, listen to music, or write journals. The moderator then facilitates discussion among the participants.

Participant presentation group

With the guidance of the group moderator, the participants are expected to choose themes and make presentations.

Moderator/Participant presentation group

Participants are encouraged to choose themes and make presentations, although these are not essential.

Moderator presentation group

The group moderator makes all the presentations and facilitates the discussions.


Study groups focussed on addressing practical or life-style issues rather than intellectual pursuits.

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