Avoiding Pitfall #5: Encourage Students to learn from each other

As the course that I am converting to a hybrid course is also a new course, I am experiencing and evaluating the issues in course content delivery in a face-to-face classroom environment this term. Avoiding pitfalls in online course design will help overcome those issues as well.

Because the course is a large (85 students) lecture class, it is difficult to interact with students or have students engage in class discussions. I gave out the first project, which is due this Tuesday. I think if I incorporate and encourage online discussions between students, it will help promote student understanding. More specifically, the project requires students to learn the content from the class and reinforce learning through an online open educational tool called UDacity before they apply concepts and do the project. Some students told me that they had a hard time signing up UDacity and finding the course and the lesson. There may be more students who are not brave enough to contact me to ask. If I were to open a Canvas discussion page for the project or made it a group project and offer a virtual room for students to interact with each other, they would be able to learn from each other more easily.

I think I would be more aware of pitfall #5 in online course preparation, as the students have less direct interaction time with the instructor.  However, the large lecture class has a similar problem, as it is so easy for students to be anonymous and passive in the classroom. The opportunities that online educational tools offer can encourage student-to-student discussions even for face-to-face classes.

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2 Responses to Avoiding Pitfall #5: Encourage Students to learn from each other

  1. chaplenf says:

    I think this is a very interesting topic and run into similar issues with a similarly sized course. I am hoping to use the discussion forum functionality of canvas to address this issue. My experience has been that students have a wealth of knowledge relevant to the course and the key is to tap into this both for the benefit of the class and my benefit, also!

  2. kentad says:

    I am also teaching the class I plan to take hybrid face to face first (for me it is in the spring). I am just now starting to design it and trying to incorporate hybrid principles in the initial version (i.e. by “flipping” it) so that the change to the hybrid version a year later is as straighforward as possible. It is also a relatively large class (60 students enrollment maximum) and I am grappling with me desire to make the class as personalized as I can without making the amount of work too much. For example I’d like to make the class exam free and focus assessment on producing a journal of some type. I don’t want to have to read 60 journal entries each week. Hopefully I’ll pick up some ideas from those of you dealing with bigger classes.

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