Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

Identity Accelerator #2: Guess The Untruth

mkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching


Guess The Untruth is an activity that I adopted years ago when teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Lethbridge. Originally, it was a way to encourage students to practice the present perfect tense. This activity can be very interesting and engaging. It offers the students an opportunity to share their cleverness, their sense of humour, and some interesting aspects of their lives. In other words, the students can start sharing and shaping their identities.

Most recently, I have been using this activity with my master-level students at the beginning of the semester. It gives the students a break from the usual welcome forum introductions in which we ask them to tell us about themselves and why they are taking the class. (I can’t tell you how many times I was asked to do this when I was a student.)



Teacher demonstration

  • Updating his/her profile.
  • Starting a discussion thread with the three statements about him/herself.
  • Guessing about one or two of the students’ statements and demonstrating the logic processes by comparing what is said in the profile and how the three statements might be truthful or not.
  • Fessing up! This, too, is part of leading the group: ending the activity and debriefing.


I often send out a welcome letter to the students a week or two before an online course starts. On the course start date, I then explain this activity in a video as well as in text. (I recommend offering text scripts of videos just in case the students have bandwidth issues.)

Wthin a day of starting the activity, there can be 100 or more discussion messages posted for a class of 20 students. It can be a high volume activity, so be prepared.

I have had consistently good experience with this activity and I highly recommend it. Try drawing upon interesting snippets from your own life. For example:

  • I have been marooned on the Orinoco River.
  • I like catsup on my waffles.
  • I have practiced Judo in Spain.

Which do you think is the false statement?


Rating: 5 stars 

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Note: My students recently shared this article with me:

Dixon, J. S., Crooks, H., & Henry, K. (2006). Breaking the ice: Supporting collaboration and the development of community online. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 32(2). Retrieved from

In this article, the authors discuss a similar activity called “Liar, Liar”.

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